President Joe Biden's visit 'largest in 10 years' and costs £7m in policing, PSNI says

The PSNI says the security operation around the visit of US President Joe Biden was the largest it has overseen in 10 years, with an estimated cost of £7m.

Almost 3,000 PSNI officers were involved in policing the President's visit to Northern Ireland, supported by more than 80 mutual aid officers.

President Biden flew into Belfast International Airport on Tuesday evening where he was greeted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He stayed overnight at a hotel in Belfast city centre and on Wednesday delivered a keynote speech at the new Ulster University campus.

The major security operation, which included road closures, cordons and security barriers around Belfast, has now ended as the city returns to normality.

President Biden left on Wednesday afternoon to continue his visit in the Republic of Ireland.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said it had been the PSNI's biggest operation since 2013 when world leaders travelled to Northern Ireland for the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh.

“The breadth of this operation has been huge and has involved 2,920 police officers from around Northern Ireland," ACC Todd explained.

"Extensive planning and preparation have been implemented to ensure the safety and security of the US President, his officials and staff, as well as Prime Minster Sunak and other dignitaries.

“This has been an extremely busy time for policing across Northern Ireland, with Easter parades and a high footfall of visitors attending the various beauty spots over the Easter holidays. 

"We have benefited over the last few days from 84 Mutual Aid officers who travelled to Belfast and surrounding areas and provided essential additional specialist capabilities and support.

“Having such dedicated and professional colleagues ensured all operations were carried out expertly and I would like to thank all of our police officers, police staff and Mutual Aid officers for their contribution."

ACC Todd thanked the public for their "understanding and cooperation" over recent days.

He said the figure of £7m is an "early estimate" subject to change, and said the PSNI will seek to recover what costs they can.

The assistant chief constable added: “This has been a complex and expensive operation delivered to internationally recognised standards and, at present, we anticipate the overall cost for the two-week operation will be somewhere in the region of £7 million, however, that is an early estimate and is subject to change.

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland will seek to recover what costs we can, under relevant established arrangements, once the operation has concluded and full details are known."