With conference season well underway, attention is set to Manchester as the Conservative party conference rolls into town. Preparations are well underway, and the infamous ‘ring of steel is set to be erected once more. The high-security perimeter fencing will separate the conference centre itself from the rest of the city to make the event as safe as possible for those attending. Armed police will also be positioned on the perimeter.
For obvious reasons, political party conferences are always protected by the security of the highest standard. With the continued threat of terrorism, security measures are becoming more and more stringent every year.
This is never more true than about this year’s Conservative conference in Manchester. As well as around 12,000 delegates and exhibitors, the city is also bracing itself for up to 80,000 protesters and activists who are expected to crash the party.
Indeed, the Labour leader himself is also set to get in on the action. Newly-elected Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a rally organised by the postal worker’s union in the same city.
It will be the fourth time the Conservatives have held their conference in Manchester since 2009. This year’s event is expected to be the liveliest yet, as demonstrations against the party’s continued austerity drive.
The now-familiar ‘ring of steel’ perimeter fence will cordon off the entirety of the Manchester Central Convention Complex for the duration of the event, and a series of road closures and no-go zones will also be in place.
Greater Manchester Police has received extra funding for the reinforced security at the event. Security measures include a heightened police presence across the city and the creation of an ‘island site’, which will incorporate the conference venue itself as well as delegates’ accommodation to ensure “business as usual.”
John O’Hare, the Chief Superintendent responsible for GMP’s response, said the force supports the public’s “democratic right to protest peacefully” but would “not allow the conference itself to be disrupted.”
The event is expected to generate a £29 million economic boost for the city, as hotels, restaurants, taxi firms and other local businesses are set to benefit from the influx of delegates.