Hundreds of police officers drafted in for massive security operation at Tory conference

West Midlands Police has revealed details of the massive security operation that is in place for the Conservative Party conference.

Birmingham's International Convention Centre will host the conference
Birmingham's International Convention Centre will host the conference

The event starts on Sunday at the International Convention Centre (ICC). It will see more than 12,000 delegates and visitors descend on Birmingham and features keynote speeches from the likes of Prime Minister Liz Truss and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.

And hundreds of officers will be involved in what the force describes as a "complex, multi-faceted operation" that will run until October 5.

The operation, which started earlier this week, will see armed officers on patrol in the vicinity of the ICC, while patrols will be beefed up in other areas of the city where more than 600 fringe events are taking place.

Dubbed Operation Pelkin, it will also involve forces from other parts of the country.

Ch Supt Phil Dolby, tactical commander for Operation Pelkin, said the security operation had been "months in the planning". He said it involved working with Birmingham City Council, the ICC, Hyatt Regency Birmingham among others, and built on the successful partnership working that took place during the Commonwealth Games.

He said: "This is a significant and complex operation. There will be over 12,000 delegates coming to the conference, so as well as West Midlands Police being involved, we will also be joined and supported by police officers from the wider police family across the UK."

Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby is running the operation for the Tory conference

Ch Supt Dolby has advised people travelling in the area to plan ahead as road closures will be in place.

Cambridge Street, between Civic Close and Brindley Drive, and Bridge Street have been closed, as has Broad Street (between Gas Street and Paradise Circus) closed. They are expected to reopen on October 6.

Meanwhile police have also planned for a number of protests which are set to take place during the conference.

They include 'Protest the Tory Party Conference' in Victoria Square on October 2, which will see campaigners bussed in from places including Stoke, Leicester and London.

Ch Supt Dolby said: "Members of the public may feel that they wish to engage in lawful protest, and that's absolutely fine and we're prepared for that, and we have a duty to facilitate that as long as it is lawful.

"We also would ask the public to be vigilant, because this is the government of the day, which is why we have a security operation around it."

Birmingham last hosted the Conservative Party conference in 2018. It was due to hold it in 2020 but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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