Police chief thanks public for support after terror level reduced

Armed officers on patrol in Newcastle city centre. Pic: Northumbria Police.
Armed officers on patrol in Newcastle city centre. Pic: Northumbria Police.

The chief of the North East's biggest police force has thanked the public for their support after it increased armed patrols over the weekend.

On Friday evening the Prime Minister raised Britain's national terror threat from 'severe' to 'critical' in light of the attack at Parsons Green Underground Station in London.

That decision led to an increase in armed patrols across the country as counter-terrorism officers conducted an investigation into those responsible.

Today the threat level has been reduced to 'severe' and Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman thanked the public for their reaction to armed patrols in the region.

He said: “It has been a busy weekend in the Northumbria Police force area and the increased terror threat has seen significantly more officers deployed on our streets.

“Visitors to our cities and towns would have seen a lot of police uniforms and a number of armed patrols at busy locations and at our transport hubs.

“This was a proportionate and necessary response to the increase in the national threat level, and I recognise that the sight of armed officers can be alarming.

“However, the public response to the increased armed patrols has been overwhelmingly positive, and I want to thank everyone who stopped us and thanked us for keeping them safe.

“Our absolute priority is the safety of the public, and it makes us very proud to hear people speak to our officers about how reassured they feel by their presence.

“Now that the threat level has reduced back down to 'severe', the public will see less armed officers deployed on our streets, but we will still have a highly-visible policing operation in place.

“We have had armed patrols at high-footfall locations and our transport hubs since last year, and those will continue with the support of our response and neighbourhood officers.

“Finally, I just want to thank all my officers and staff who have been on duty this weekend. They have shown dedication and professionalism and engaged really well with the public.

“I also want to thank our police colleagues from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, who joined us yesterday and will continue to support our officers for the rest of the day.

“In the coming days I would continue to appeal to the public to be calm, but be vigilant.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman.

"The threat level does still remain at 'severe' so the public are urged to report any suspicious activity to police.”

You can report suspicious behaviour to Northumbria Police on 999 or by calling the anti-terrorism hotline on 0800 789 321.

Anything suspicious can also be reported online at gov.uk/ACT, but always call 999 in an emergency.