Summit Duty Challenges New Zealand’s Police
Police here will mount their biggest security operation to protect dozens of world leaders at the Commonwealth summit opening today.
Police must protect more than 30 leaders, accompanied by hundreds of officials, at a summit of the 52-nation Commonwealth that groups Britain and its former colonies.
Government officials denied that the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had prompted tightening of security, noting that planning began well before Saturday’s assassination.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time. We’ve been building up our intelligence not only in New Zealand but with overseas agencies,” Police Supt. Bryan Rowe said.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and South African President Nelson Mandela are among the heads of state visiting New Zealand for the biggest gathering of leaders the country has hosted.
The logistics of the operation are daunting. At least 50 motorcades will be traveling around Auckland, and police and explosives experts will be searching over 100 venues.
New Zealand is putting 2,000 officers on the streets for the meeting.