Armed police patrols in Leicestershire end after busy Christmas and New Year period

Armed Police
Armed Police

A temporary policing operation which saw visibly armed officers patrolling busy and crowded places in Leicestershire over the Christmas and New Year period has come to an end.

The operation was put in place following a suspected terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin on Monday December 19.

Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) patrolled key locations in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire with their firearms clearly on display during the two-week period.

Although the threat level to the UK of a terrorist attack post-Berlin hadn’t changed - and remains at ‘severe’ - the move was designed to provide greater public reassurance at a traditionally busy time of year and to serve as a deterrent.

The operation was run by the East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS) which provides a range of policing services to the communities of Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire including roads policing, specialist search skills, specialist dog support and traffic collision investigation.

Head of EMOpSS Chief Superintendent Ian Howick said: “Our officers were asked to carry out highly visible patrols when they were not responding to specific incidents.

“They carried patrols around shopping centres, in city centres and at sports venues and the overwhelming response from the public, both on social media and face to face with the officers themselves, was very positive.

“Our aim was to alert people, not alarm them, and I hope we achieved that. While the officers have now returned to their usual, less visible style of policing, we cannot rule out the possibility of using overtly armed patrols again in the future.”

People are asked to remain vigilant and to report anything they believe to be suspicious to the police if necessary and in an emergency by calling 999.

The high visibility armed patrols started on Thursday 22 December and finished on Tuesday 3 January. No one was arrested during these patrols.