National Police Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir discussed what Reykjavík residents could expect in terms of security measures for the upcoming Council of Europe last week on radio programme Bylgjan.
Among other measures, Reykjavík residents can expect closures around the Harpa concert hall, armed escorts for council representatives, and a high level of alertness in the city.
“I would compare it to a large-scale civil defence exercise,” the commissioner stated to Bylgjan. “Policemen and police personnel will be coming from all over the country. It is also very exciting for us to participate in something like this and get to know each other. We are also training our people and strengthening the Icelandic police at the same time. So it’s a complex and extensive but very interesting and fun project.”
Many police officers from throughout the nation will be involved in the operations during the important summit meeting, but the commissioner could give no specifics on their numbers for security reasons. Although Icelandic security forces have considerable experience hosting such important events, even greater precautions will be taken this May.
“It is our country that these heads of state are visiting, and we need to ensure their safety. We are responsible for the safety of everyone who comes to us on official business. They will of course be accompanied by their own security teams, but we will be leading the way for the overall security plan and all operations,” Sigríður stated.
Sigríður also reported that the carrying of weapons by foreign police officers and bodyguards will be permitted in certain cases. She also stated that traffic disruptions are likely, but that all efforts will be made to keep the public informed.
Measures are also expected to be tightened at the airport. The alert level will be raised because of the presence of international delegates.
“What we are trying to do is simply rise to the situation that’s being brought to our country,” Sigríður stated.
In addition to the above measures, an expansion of surveillance cameras in downtown Reykjavík is also expected for the international summit.