No plans for soldiers on North East streets, says police chief

Soldiers arrive at Buckingham Palace, London, as armed troops have been deployed to guard "key locations" under Operation Temperer, which is being enacted after security experts warned the Government that another terrorist attack could be imminent
Soldiers arrive at Buckingham Palace, London, as armed troops have been deployed to guard "key locations" under Operation Temperer, which is being enacted after security experts warned the Government that another terrorist attack could be imminent
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There are no plans to deploy armed forces on the region's streets in the wake of the Manchester suicide bombing, a police chief has revealed.

Twenty-two people were killed and dozens more seriously injured when Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a device as fans left Manchester Arena, where US star Ariana Grande was performing on Monday night.

Prime Minister Theresa May later announced the threat level was raised to critical – ‘an attack maybe imminent’ - and it was confirmed that armed troops were to be deployed to guard "key locations" such as Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster and embassies.

Today, Chief Constable Steve Ashman, of Northumbria Police, revealed there would be an increase in the number of armed police officers on patrol at major sites in the force area - but that there were no plans for military to be deployed in the region.

He said: "In response to this heightened threat the public will see an increased policing and security within the Northumbria Police area at key sites, such as train stations, transport hubs and other crowded places. This increased security is to protect and reassure the public.

"The number of officers on duty, both armed and unarmed has been increased significantly to provide a highly visible, reassuring presence. This will remain in place for as long as is necessary.

"In some parts of the country the military will be deployed to provide visible protective security patrols, however there are NO plans at this stage for the military to be deployed in the Northumbria area.

"There will however, be an increase in the numbers of armed police officers on patrol.

"Neighbourhood officers and community engagement teams will continue to work with local communities across the force to support them and provide reassurance.

"The safety and security of our communities remains our priority and we are working with local partners, central government and other agencies across the country to keep the public safe.

"Officers from event planning teams and protective security experts will be working with event organisers to ensure that venues have appropriate security measures in place for upcoming events to ensure the safety of visitors.

"Our security measures and activities are under constant review to ensure that we are doing all that we can to protect the public.

"At this time the public are asked to remain calm but alert. If you see anything that causes you concern, report it immediately to the police."

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, said: "The Prime Minister, having declared the national threat as being at "critical" level , has led to Northumbria Police acting immediately to protect us all. There is no specific known threat directed to Northumbria in particular at all.

"There will be more armed officers in public places and around in general. They continue to be our usual friendly Northumbria officers. Don't hesitate to chat to them or ask them questions and definitely give them any information or tell them about any suspicions or concerns you may have. They will be pleased to talk with you and will value all the information you can give, whether it turns out to be important or not.

"It has been made clear, at this stage, there are no plans for soldiers to be on our streets in Northumbria.

"I am in frequent contact with the Chief Constable and through him, with national planning, he and I will make sure that we pass on as much information as possible and we all hope that the threat level will be reduced before long."

A webpage with advice for victims and those affected by the attack has gone live on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manchester-attack-may-2017-support-for-people-affected

The latest guidance on recognising the terrorist threat and remaining vigilant can be accessed via www.nactso.gov.uk

People are being asked to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency the public should always call 999. For further information about reporting suspicious behaviour visit https://act.campaign.gov.uk/.