THERE is currently “no specific threat” of terrorist attacks during COP26 in Glasgow but people should expect to see more armed officers around the city during the November climate conference, police have said.

The force is understood to have about 500 armed officers and while there has been no increase in that figure for COP26, a “significant” number of armed police from elsewhere in the UK will assist.

Chief Superintendent Louise Skelton (below) is head of specialist services at the force, which includes overseeing Police Scotland’s armed response, involving armed response vehicles and officers with Glock handguns and semi-automatic G36 assault rifles.

She said: “At the moment there’s no specific threat to the event but armed police are very much deployed as a contingency and obviously to keep the world leaders, heads of state, delegates and the people of Scotland safe and respond to any threat should it arise.”

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The Queen, Pope Francis and US president Joe Biden are among the high-profile figures expected to attend, and each member of the United Nations has been invited, meaning nearly 120 heads of state are expected to arrive along with about 20,000 accredited delegates.

Skelton spoke at a training event for Police Scotland armed officers at the Scottish Police College at Jackton, East Kilbride. Armed officers demonstrated armed

response vehicles stopping a car in a mocked-up street scene where the driver is thought to present a threat.

They also showed how they would stop a pedestrian armed with an axe in the street.

Skelton said: “It’s one of the most complex events that’s ever been held in the UK, particularly in Scotland, so there will be an increase in the visibility of armed officers, particularly in the Glasgow area where the event is being held. We’re getting help from England and Wales, in relation to firearms officers and different skills of firearms officers.

“The plans are still being developed clearly but there will be a significant mutual aid assistance from colleagues in armed policing because of the scale and size of the event.”

COP26 negotiations will take place at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC), which will be known as the Blue Zone and will be under UN control with its own security.

However, it will come under Scots law if a crime takes place.

Skelton also stressed strict criteria govern the use of armed officers in Scotland.

She said: “Any deployment of armed police by Police Scotland is very heavily scrutinised and ratified by a chief superintendent who is a trained strategic firearms commander so there are very strict criteria in relation to that and the threat would need to justify the criteria for deployment.”