Officer apologises over police sleeping in gymnasium during Trump visit

A top-ranking officer has apologised after it was revealed police securing Donald Trump’s visit to the UK were being forced to sleep in conditions described as an “absolute disgrace”.

Hundreds of officers were to sleep in cramped lines of camp beds filling a vast gymnasium and sleeping mats on the floor of squash courts between long shifts policing the US president’s trip.

Essex Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Pippa Mills admitted the conditions were unacceptable and apologised to the officers, promising to rectify the situation.

“The conditions which I have been made aware of are not acceptable,” she said.

“Working with our military partners we have found alternative accommodation. This will address the concerns highlighted.”

The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, highlighted the conditions its members were facing during the operation, which will see officers from across the country enlisted at a cost of up to £10 million.

Simon Kempton, the organisation’s deputy treasurer in England and Wales, said: “These officers have been asked to leave their families to travel to another part of the country to help protect the public and the president and all they expect in return is to be treated with some dignity and respect.

“What’s clear is that anyone overnight who has been arrested by the police would be put in accommodation far superior to what the officers are staying in.”

He said officers at that site are only averaging three to four hours’ sleep ahead of 15-hour shifts because of the conditions.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added the conditions were an “absolute disgrace”.

The controversial president’s visit has prompted one of the UK’s biggest ever police operations, with thousands of officers on duty.

During Mr Trump’s trip he will meet the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May as he visits locations including Blenheim Palace, Chequers, Windsor Castle, the US ambassador’s official residence in Regent’s Park, London, and Scotland.

- Press Association

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