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Police request 'eyes and ears' ahead of the Labour Party conference in Brighton

News   •   Sep 18, 2019 16:35 BST

Sussex Police is preparing for a busy few days ahead, with the arrival of the annual Labour Party conference in Brighton and Hove.

Prior to the start of the conference on Saturday, a global climate strike protest will take place on Friday (September 20), moving off from Hove Lawns at 11am, heading via Western Road and North Street to a meeting at The Level.

There are a number of planned events outside of the conference venue during the five days of the event and police have advised that there may be some disruption at times along the seafront and other locations in the city. However, there are no planned road closures other than the small crescent in front of the Grand Hotel.

The planning for Operation Otter by Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council in liaison with the Labour Party and the Home Office, has been underway for the past year. It seeks to ensure the safety and security of those attending as well as other attendees, residents and visitors in Brighton and Hove.

In advance of and during the conference, uniformed and plain-clothes officers are out and about undertaking Project Servator, similar activity to what goes on at Gatwick Airport and other locations encouraging people who live and work in the area to be ‘eyes and ears’. This is aimed at disrupting a range of criminal activity, including terrorism. There is nothing to suggest an increased risk, but we would urge people to remain alert and let us know of anything that raises their suspicions – at all times.

Armed officers, now a routine part of daily policing operations, will be deployed and police will again be making use of other safety measures such as road barriers in some parts of the city.

Chief Superintendent Jane Derrick said: “As always, we ask that people demonstrate a certain level of personal responsibility including things like taking care of belongings, following personal safety advice and flagging any issues or suspicious behaviour to event staff or police.

“Disruption is being kept to a minimum with city centre car parks open as usual and fencing at the front of the Brighton Centre placed to enable people to walk by without having to cross the road. The only planned road closure will be the crescent in front of the Grand Hotel.

“Passes and a search will be a condition of entry to the Brighton Centre and people elsewhere may be stopped as part of the overall policing response with several hundred fringe events planned in the city.

“You will see more officers in the area in the lead up to and throughout the conference. Please talk to them if you have any questions. Policing levels for the city and the rest of Sussex will not be affected by the operation.”