Top cop says crime won't pay at the 2014 Games in Glasgow

ONE of Glasgow's most powerful cops is out to stop criminals hijacking the Commonwealth Games.

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Chief superintendent Andy Bates said he will stop crooks intent on creating a crime spike
Chief superintendent Andy Bates said he will stop crooks intent on creating a crime spike

Chief Superintendent Andy Bates told the Evening Times he will stop any crooks intent on creating a crime spike.

He said: "I don't have any fears there will be an increase in criminality at the Commonwealth Games.

"Because we won't let it happen."

A massive police operation is already underway to keep Glasgow people - and the city's one million visitors - safe during the 11-day sporting extravaganza.

However, Mr Bates, Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow, remained tight-lipped about number of extra officers that will be drafted in the city.

He said: "During the Commonwealth Games, the visible police presence will be high, but it will be proportionate to the number of visitors.

"We are drafting in officers in from other areas of the city, and other parts of the country, including Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

"But I want to reassure people other parts of Glasgow, and other parts of the country, will not be striped bare of police.

"It will be business as usual in unusual circumstances.

"And the extra one million visitors will leave Glasgow at the end of the Games with a very positive impression of Police Scotland."

Intelligence-gathering operations are already underway, with police offices across the country feeding information to a central location.

Mr Bates pledged he and his officers are "alive" to any possible criminality and believes the Games will be a resounding success.

Scores of extra officers will be on duty from the arrival of the Queen's Baton on June 14 until the closure of the athletes' village on August 5.

Police are not specific giving details of how Glasgow will be policed during the Games.

However, Mr Bates acknowledged the public will see more uniformed officers around Games venues, the city centre, and transport hubs.

"Police in Greater Glasgow have a great deal of experience in responding to major events," Mr Bates said.

"Hampden Park, Celtic Park, Ibrox Stadium, and Firhill Stadium are all in Greater Glasgow.

"So our cops are used to policing big football matches, and massive cup finals, we know what we are doing.

"We also have to police more parades. protests, marches and outdoor concerts, than any other division in the country.

"I believe the success of this operation is all down to the amount of meticulous planning we do."

Mr Bates said the key is to strike a balance between delivering a safe and secure Commonwealth Games, while the maintain the high-level of day-to-day policing.

POLICE patrols and specialist officers are being bussed in from across Scotland with 15 of the venues being in Glasgow.

Several of the countries taking part have bad human rights records, including Sri Lanka, and police say they are "alive" to potential protesters.

Mr Bates said: "Officers in Greater Glasgow have a great deal of experience of policing football finals, parades and walks.

"And the vast majority pass without any incidents. When someone says to me "That protest, or that event, was a damp squib", I say: "Thank you".

"To me, that means the event has passed without any serious incidents and has been policed successfully."

Police visited Delhi while the city hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games and say officers learned "many lessons".

Meanwhile, training is already under way for officers who will accompany the Queen's Baton when it arrives in Scotland.

Each officer will have to run half a marathon a day for 40 days - and be prepared for any eventuality.

The Queen's Baton arrives back in Scotland on June 14, accompanied by 20 Police Scotland officers.

It will then travel through 450 towns and villages, visiting schools and community centres, as well as touring the streets.

The security squad is taking part in training programmes designed to prepare them for any potential incident. Mr Bates added: "We are really looking forward to the rest of 2014, and the Commonwealth Games are just a part of it.

"It's going to be a massive year for Glasgow and everyone at Police Scotland really can't wait."

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

Sport

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