Busy and crowded places in Leicestershire and Rutland are being patrolled by firearms officers as of 7am this morning, Thursday December 22, after suspcted terror incidents in Berlin and Turkey.
Police confirmed The operation will run until lunchtime on January 3, 2017.
The assessment of the threat from international terrorism has not changed and remains classified as “severe”, and there is no specific information or intelligence which suggests an attack in the United Kingdom is imminent.
However the incidents of terrorism / suspected terrorism in Berlin and in Turkey in the last few days have served to remind everyone of the on-going threat, and makes it proportionate and appropriate for the four forces to raise the profile of armed protective / preventative patrols over the holiday period.
Starting at 7am this morning, all Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) covering Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire will, when not directly deployed to specific incidents, carry out routine patrols in crowded places. They will clearly be carrying firearms but the policing style will be engaging and reassuring in order to keep the public alert but not alarmed.
The operation is being run by EMOpSS, the East Midlands Operational Support Service which provides firearms, police dog, roads policing, operational planning and other services on behalf of the four constituent forces.
Chief Superintendent Ian Howick, who is in charge of EMOpSS, said: “Far from alarming the public, the purpose of this change in approach is to achieve precisely the opposite – to provide greater reassurance.
“There is no specific threat to the East Midlands, but recent events elsewhere in the world have led to a change in what the public in Britain expect and want from their local police.
“In common with all other policing areas, we have assessed our capability and security arrangements. The purpose of this change is to further minimise the risk to public and staff in and around crowded / busy public places from a terrorist attack, to maximise the safety of tasked and un-tasked police officers, staff and partner agency staff in such vicinities, and to provide the public with a greater sense of reassurance by increasing our visible presence.”
People are asked to remain vigilant during the holiday period and to report anything they believe to be suspicious to Leicestershire Police if necessary and in an emergency by calling 999.