Armed officers on duty for Great North Run as police gear up for event

Armed police at the Race for Life in Sunderland in 2017. Firearms officers will be back on patrol for the Great North Run
Armed police at the Race for Life in Sunderland in 2017. Firearms officers will be back on patrol for the Great North Run

Armed officers will again be on duty for the Great North Run as part of the police operation to keep runners and spectators safe and reassured.

Tens of thousands of runners and thousands more spectators are getting read for the world's biggest half marathon tomorrow.

Pc Luiz Scheidt

Pc Luiz Scheidt

Chief Inspector David Pickett said the massive turn-out was a great chance for officers to engage with the public while helping the day go smoothly and making sure everyone involved felt safe and secure.

He said: “We have deployed armed officers at major events across the region for almost two years and this has been well received by the public.

“Armed officers have also been regularly been deployed at busy transport hubs, shopping centres and on our high streets. They will be deployed again at this year’s Great North Run to offer reassurance, but this is not new and the public are encouraged to speak to them.

“While public safety is our overriding priority, our officers are also there to speak to the public and answer any questions visitors may have. They are friendly and approachable – so please stop and say hello, or take a picture with them.

He added: “We would ask the public to follow our social media channels for the latest safety messages and advice.

“Anybody who sees anything suspicious is asked to report it to an officer on patrol or by ringing 101. In an emergency, call 999.”

.Among the officers on duty tomorrow is PC Luiz Scheidt, who lives in Sunderland.

He said: “This will be my third year working the Great North Run and it’s one of the standout community events which we attend every year.

“I’ve been with the Force for more than 14 years and have served all that time based in South Tyneside, so it’s one that is close to my heart.

“I was actually born in Brazil and moved to England in 1987. I’ve lived in the North East since 2001, so I’ve come to know just how important it is for the people of this region.

He added: “While ensuring the public’s safety is obviously our overriding priority, being out in the community and engaging with residents and visitors is also a big part of what we do at events such as this.

“We’re proud to be part of the fabric of the community and it’s always great to see some familiar faces while out on patrol.

“This event helps showcase the very best of the area we serve, and a huge part of its success is the feel-good atmosphere that both runners and spectators bring on the day.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing that again this weekend – and hope to see you all in South Shields at the end of the race.”

Pc Scheidt will be based in South Tyneside along with local neighbourhood teams to see runners reaching the end of the inspirational challenge, other officers will be based in Newcastle city centre – which will welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors from all corners of the globe.