Police are planning the biggest mobilisation of officers since the 2011 riots as thousands of people in the UK prepare to protest against the arrival this week of Donald Trump.
Thousands of officers will be moving across the country to contain demonstrations against the US president,who arrives on Thursday and will visit London, Windsor and Scotland during the two-day trip.
One chief constable said the resources that had been asked for were on the scale required “if London was burning down”. Firearms officers, armed counter-terrorism units, public order officers and dog handlers are being deployed for the visit.
Police chiefs said the initial numbers being asked for by the National PoliceCoordination Centre (NPoCC) were too high and that they fought to cut them.
Several chiefs told the Guardian they were concerned the demands to send personnel to protect Trump added to the pressure to find enough officers to keep their own areas sufficiently safe.
One said: “The more we send there, the less we have for our areas. With the hot weather, if anything kicks off, we are struggling. They cut the officers in the urban areas [biggest forces] and now they need them.”
The original planning was for 6,000 officers, deployed within about 300 police support units, which would comprise one inspector, three sergeants and 18 to 20 constables.
It is understood that about 4,000 officers will be mobilised, to support colleagues in the areas Trump is visiting, and that some forces in other regions have restricted leave so their officers can make up the numbers.
The Police Federation has already acknowledged said that the president’s visit will put “unquestionable pressure” on UK police forces.