THE security operation for the UN climate change summit in Glasgow will be the biggest the UK has seen "for many years", police chiefs have warned MSPs. 

A briefing note to members of a Holyrood committee ahead of its meeting tomorrow said there was a recognition the event, tasked with producing an international response to the climate emergency, would impact on frontline policing both within and outwith Scotland.

The Police Scotland document tells MSPs: “It is widely recognised that the policing of COP26 will impact across the UK through significant mutual aid requirements from Home Office police forces to safely deliver the policing operation.

“While there exist well established frameworks for the provision of mutual aid, extensive logistical challenges will arise from what will undoubtedly be the largest mass mobilisation of police officers in the UK in many years.”

Some 200 heads of government and a record 30,000 delegates are due to attend the COP26 event at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) from November 9 to 20.

The Scottish Police Federation have said that around 6000 officers will be required each day, which equates to 2000 per shift.

The briefing updates MSPs on the arrangements the force is making for the conference and was issued to members of Holyrood’s justice sub-committee on policing before Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable Bernie Higgins gives evidence to it tomorrow.

It also tells MSPs that the force is planning for significant protests at the event and will be deploying armed, uniformed, public order, and undercover officers.

“The wider Police Scotland command structure is being developed with a number of individuals having taken up position to drive forward planning and delivery in respect of key business areas including armed policing, public order policing, road policing, intelligence and logistics,” it said.

Scotland’s Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone, said earlier this year he believed the cost of policing COP 26 could run to as much as £200 million, and warned it was “fanciful” to suggest it would not have a major impact on people living locally.

He said: “Candidly, it is my professional opinion that any suggestion that the climate change conference will not impact on the wider community of Scotland is fanciful.”

In the briefing to MSPs Police Scotland said work on the cost of the security operation was ongoing and warned it would need additional funding.

A separate note to committee members from the Scottish Police Authority – which has revised estimated policing costs to £180m – argued the bill should be covered by the UK Government.

“As this is a UK Government event, they are the funding authority and have responsibility for overall governance and assurance of all aspects of the event,” it said.

Last month, a row broke out between the UK and Scottish Governments over the use of buildings near the SEC. The UK Government wants to use the Glasgow Science Centre (above), but Scottish ministers have already booked it.

Updating Holyrood yesterday, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the Scottish Government had agreed to let the UK Government use the centre.

She said: “I have written to the COP26 president to offer the transfer of control of the Science Centre to the UK Government on the provision that we are offered an appropriate alternative venue. I therefore urge the UK Government to conclude this matter without delay to ensure we have a platform to pursue increased global action.

"We want to use COP26 as a catalyst to attract new investment, innovation and sustainable growth for Scotland, that will firmly position Scotland as a world leader in tackling climate change.”