The UK government is spending millions of pounds on security and policing during President Donald Trump’s visit to the country, where mass protests are expected to greet the controversial leader.
UK police are mobilizing their biggest operation since riots struck in 2011 for the arrival of Trump. Around 4,000 officers are reportedly being deployed to provide extra security in the locations that Trump is visiting with the total cost estimated to be at least £12 million ($15.8 million).
In addition, Trump’s security includes 150 US special agents, several armoured vehicles, nicknamed “Beasts,” for his motorcade and his armoured helicopter, Marine One, according to British newspaper The Mirror, which also said there would be rooftop snipers and counter-terrorism police deployed to keep the president safe during the trip.
Trump will attend a business dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday evening before staying at the US ambassador’s residence in London. He will then observe a demonstration of US-UK military cooperation before having a working lunch with Prime Minister Theresa May at her country retreat, Chequers.
The highlight for Trump is said to be his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Friday afternoon before he travels to Scotland to play golf. There’s a lot of locations to secure for the Trump visit and police have been drafted in from across the country in the security effort.
The UK Home Office will fit the bill for the policing costs with central government giving money to the regional forces overseeing the policing — the Metropolitan Police in London and Thames Valley Police overseeing Blenheim Palace and the visit to Chequers.
Despite estimates of the policing costs being widely reported (and some figures giving a figure of as much as £30 million) the Home Office said the full costs of the policing for the bulk of Trump’s visit in England would only be known after it has finished.
Trump is expected to travel to Scotland to play golf at one of his courses in Ayrshire — a visit that alone could cost £5 million ($6.6 million) to police. Police Scotland will not foot the bill for the visit after ministers balked at the cost, prompting the Home Office to step in. It said this on an “exceptional basis.”
Those opposing Trump’s visit on principle are not happy about British taxpayers having to pay for the president’s visit.
Layla Moran, a member of Parliament (MP) for the Oxford and Abingdon constituency, covered by the Thames Valley Police, said the US should pay for the policing costs incurred during Trump’s stay.
“I know that Thames Valley police will do a first rate, professional job of keeping everyone safe and policing the visit by President Trump and the associated protests,” Moran told her local newspaper, the Oxford Mail.
“But it’s really not on that local police budgets should suffer as a result, or that the government should have to use taxpayers’ money to police a visit that the vast majority of people don’t want in the first place.” She said “scores” of residents in her constituency had contacted her to oppose the visit.
It is believed that the bulk of Trump’s visits will take place outside of the capital London in order to avoid planned demonstrations against the visit.
The London Together Against Trump protest on Friday will culminate in a rally in Trafalgar Square and there are events elsewhere in the UK as part of a series of “Stop Trump” events. https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/events