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Wednesday, 12 August

Blue Line. Green Line. White Lines. Critical Update

25 May 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970
 

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has visited officers and military personnel on duty providing protection at the Palace of Westminster.

She said: "After the terrible events in Manchester, we have seen the raising of the threat level to critical and we are seeing military support in a number of what I call 'static posts' in various locations, such as the Palace of Westminster, in order to allow the police to put more armed officers on the streets.

"I think the vast majority of the public will be utterly reassured to know we have the ability to call upon and have called upon, our military colleagues in this way - and to know we have more armed officers out on the streets. We have well-rehearsed plans for this and we must protect the public as best we can."

 

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley

Dick continued: "I'm working closely with the national counter terrorism lead, Mark Rowley and with the national counter terrorism network and chief constables across the country to ensure that we do our level best to reduce this current threat as quickly as we can and to keep the public safe. Of course it's a worrying situation but there are more police officers on patrol and also more armed officers on the streets. There are a whole variety of other things we are doing that will be less visible but which are designed to enable us to do our level best to keep people as safe as we possibly can."

 

London's policing response to the increased terrorism threat level

The Metropolitan Police Service has increased police numbers and operations across the Capital. The public will see more armed officers, working alongside their neighbourhood and specialist colleagues on proactive operations and targeted patrols, both on foot and in vehicles. Locations of their deployments, types of tactics and numbers on duty will continually change to be the most effective and avoid predictability.

 

Tell tale signs

Those armed officers will also provide support to colleagues working on Project Servator. This tactic uses teams of specialist police officers who have been trained to spot the tell tale signs that a person may be carrying out hostile reconnaissance or committing other crime. The approach is based on extensive research into the psychology of criminals and what undermines their activities.

 

Operation Temperer

As part of the pre-planned and tested deployment under Operation Temperer the military will be working under the Met Police command structure to provide static armed guarding at key locations. This will include Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, Embassies and the Palace of Westminster.

Commander Jane Connors, leading the London policing operation, said: ""The reality is that we must be prepared to be able to respond to and deal with armed and deadly attackers, so we must be in a position to respond with firearms officers who will use force to stop those attackers in their aim. That is why is we have increased the number of firearms who are on duty, both out walking and in roaming patrols, at fixed points and carrying out a range of operations.

"We are using every tactical option - not just through the use of armed officers but ongoing work by the Counter Terrorism Command; working with partner agencies and gathering community intelligence.

"Whilst some of what we are doing will be obvious to the public there is a huge amount of work happening day and night that the public will never know about."

 

Search and ANPR

As a highly visible deterrent and disruptive tactic officers will be making more use of stop and search; vehicle check points and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.

 

Events

Operations for upcoming events are now under review and there will be an additional security arrangements put in place. Specialist officers who are experts in protective security arrangements are advising businesses, event organisers and venues across London.

 

Firearms officer dismissed for drug use

Given the number of firearms officers currently deployed, the Metropolitan Police Service were particularly embarrassed to dismiss one of their own on Wednesday for being high on ecstasy and amphetamines.

Police Constable Christopher Hall, attached to Specialist Firearms Command (SCO19) was the subject of a special case hearing. The officer had a case to answer in respect of the Standards of Professional Behaviour under: 'discreditable conduct' and 'fitness for duty'.

PC Hall faced allegations that on 3 October 2016 he underwent a 'with cause' substance misuse test. The analysis of which, came back on 7 October 2016 confirming the sample tested positive for ecstasy and amphetamine.

The chair found both allegations proven and that the officer had breached the standards of professional behaviour in such a serious way that this amounted to gross misconduct. The chair determined that the only appropriate sanction was dismissal without notice.

Picture: Armed police officers are being supplemented with military personnel in London  - a situation likely to be reflected across the country as a terrorist cell may be on the loose

 

Previous Reporting

Security Threat Level at Critical. Sporting Events May Be Cancelled. More Armed Officers on Streets

Theresa May has raised the terrorist threat level in the UK to Critical. This means a terror attack is imminent and likely. It follows suspicions that the Manchester Bomber was not working alone.

A 23-year-old man has been arrested at a property associated with Salman Ramadan Abedi the Manchester-born (of Libyan heritage), 22-year-old who police have named as the suspected suicide bomber. The improvised explosive device detonated by Abedi at the Manchester Arena on Monday evening (killing 22 and seriously injuring 59) was of a sophistication to suggest more people were involved.

Islamic State channels have claimed responsibility.

 

Critical

With the threat level at Critical, the military will take over police guarding duties to free-up officers. Police leave has been cancelled. Soldiers may be involved in assisting the police, especially at major events.

There is a possibility that that events could be cancelled. The biggest of these is this weekend's end of season football showpiece the FA Cup Final.

The summer season of some of the biggest sporting events starts with the Derby horse race meeting after the Bank Holiday, Wimbledon and Royal Ascot whilst open air events such as the Hyde Park concert series run throughout the early part of July and Manchester has its own set of large crowd music events such as Beautiful days Out at the Castleford Bowl.

 

Prime Minister statement

Theresa May gave a statement following the second COBRA meeting on the Manchester attack and announced the threat level has been raised.

She said: "I have chaired another meeting where we again discussed the callous and cowardly terrorist attack in Manchester and the operational response from the security service, the police and other emergency services.

The police and security services needed to investigate whether or not Abedi was acting alone. Those investigations continue. But the work undertaken has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

"The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) - the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available - was keeping the threat level under constant review. It has now concluded, that the threat level should be increased, for the time being, from severe to critical. This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent."

As a result of the JTAC’s decision, the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers. This request is part of a plan, known as Operation Temperer, in which both the armed forces and the police officers involved are well-trained and well-prepared to work in this kind of environment. The Secretary of State for Defence has approved this request, and Operation Temperer is now in force.

This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

May said: "You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events, such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe. In all circumstances, members of the armed forces who are deployed in this way will be under the command of police officers."

 

Metropolitan Police

Precisely how the military and armed police officers will be deployed is an operational decision for police commanders. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police said: "The investigation into the terrorist attack in Manchester is large scale, fast moving and making good progress. There has been an arrest and there are currently multiple searches and other activity taking place as I speak.

"However, at this stage it is still not possible to be certain if there was a wider group involved in the attack; 24 hours in we have a number of investigative leads that we are pursuing to manage the ongoing threat.

"This concern has led to the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre to raise the threat level to Critical. It means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but a further attack may be imminent.

"We are flexing our resources to increase police presence at key sites, such as transport and other crowded places and we are reviewing key events over the coming weeks.

"At this time we are asking the public to remain calm but alert. If you see anything that causes you concern, then let us know immediately, if you have suspicions about someone's behaviour call us."

 

Cup Final & Play-offs

Assistant Commissioner Rowley also said with regards to football matches at Wembley and other events around the Capital: “Looking ahead to the weekend, we are working with all those planning events to make sure we are doing all we can."

The Met is reaching out to smaller event organisers through licensing officers to ensure that they are given the latest protective security advice to keep their music events as safe as can be.

 

ACT

following Assistant Commissioner Rowley's call for vigilance from the public, it has been revealed that more than 3000 people have contacted the police with information about possible terrorist activity since a campaign to encourage more calls from the public was launched in March.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi (National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Protective Security) said: "Most of the concerns raised by the public as a result of the Action Counters Terrorism - or ACT - initiative turned out to be nothing to cause any alarm. However, a crucial number contained important pieces of information that resulted in further action from police - information that might otherwise have been missed. The increased response from the general public and from professionals whose job it is to keep people safe within crowded places, has been really heartening.”

 

Working with businesses

Deputy Assistant Commissioner D’Orsi also said: “We are working very closely with security managers in busy shopping centres, transport hubs and entertainment venues. Whether it is in business communities or local communities, we need to encourage everyone to keep contributing because, sadly, terrorism is a growing and increasingly complex threat.”

 

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins

Speaking yesterday, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "With regards to the ongoing investigation into last night’s horrific attack at the Manchester arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester."

Police investigating the attack are appealing to anyone who was in Manchester city centre on the night between 8:00pm and 11:00pm and has dash-cam footage to send it as a matter of urgency to https://ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk/

Chief Constable Hopkins continued: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester. “This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester.

“We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names. There is a complex and wide ranging investigation underway. Our priority is to work with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the individual who carried out this attack.

“We regularly carry out exercises to test our ability to respond to such incidents and this has ensured a very swift response from local and national agencies.

“There remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Train Station which will be in place for some time. The station will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway. People should plan their route to work and follow Transport for Greater Manchester for updates on social media.

“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant, but also to go about our daily lives. We would ask people to be alert and report any suspicious activity to police on the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321 or dialling 999.

 

City Games

The Great City Games is due to take place in Manchester on Friday and organisers have said it will go ahead as a mark of city unity. Sunday's Great Manchester Run will be reviewed and may be ccancelled.

 

London

Operation Hercules - which sees the deployment of a range of mobile and static overt armed officers - will be stepped up to protect the Capital. This is designed to make London as hostile an environment as possible for any would-be attacker. That means the locations, types of tactics and the numbers of officers deployed at once will continually change to be most effective and avoid predictability.

Commander Jane Connors, said: "As the full horror of the attack in Manchester still sinks in, we are determined to do all we can to protect the Capital. That means that over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to sporting events you will see more officers - including armed officers. As you are out and about in London please be alert - call us immediately if you see something suspicious. If you are at an event and something worries you, go straight to a police officer or security guard and tell them."

 

Safer schools

Across the country local officers are also out engaging with a range of communities as terrorist attacks can cause heightened concerns. Safer Schools officers are working closely with their schools to make sure that young people understand what has happened in Manchester.

 

Counter Terrorism Command arrest at Stansted Airport

Officers from the MPS Counter Terrorism Command arrested a 37-year-old man at Stansted Airport on Tuesday May 23 night prior to him boarding a flight to Turkey. He has been held on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism and taken to a south London police station. Officers have serched two residential addresses in north London. This arrest is linked to travel to Syria and not linked to the terrorist incident in Manchester.

 

Man caught trying to travel to Syria jailed for six years

Meanwhile. Patrick Kabele, a Londoner who attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS has (Tuesday, 23 May), been sentenced to six years' imprisonment and ordered to serve a further four years on license when he is released.

 

Previous Reporting

The police, government and anyone responsible for the security of the UK's major arena's - and more importantly, parents and families - have woken this morning to the news a terror attack has killed at least 22 people and injured up to sixty. Police have now confirmed the attack was carried-out by a suicide bomber.

Eye witnesses have described an explosion going-off in or around the foyer at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande - a performer particularly popular amongst a young and teenage audience.

One eye witness described laying down with his wife who had been badly injured by the device. He said he saw nuts and bolts strewn over the area, suggesting an improvised explosive device filled with shrapnel and designed to cause maximum devastation.

The Manchester Arena is an 21,000 capacity indoor arena in Hunts Bank, Manchester. It is situated immediately north of the city centre. Most of the arena is situated above Manchester Victoria station. The concert is said to have attracted 19,000 - many had been bought their tickets as presents...their parents arriving to collect their children have reported the trauma of not being reunited.

The area has been secured and cordoned off by Greater Manchester police who are treating this as a terrorist attack 'until known otherwise'. British Transport police have taken a lead role in evacuations as Victoria Station was closed and train services cancelled.

The people of Manchester have rallied round - a Twitter site was set up within hours, to allow local people to throw open their doors and offer beds for the night to anyone stranded; taxi firms (including 30 cars from Manchester Street Cars) were offering to drive anyone, anywhere for free.

A fleet of 60 ambulances ferried people to eight hospitals  in the city with many treated at the scene.

 

British Transport Police message

Statement from ACC Robin Smith from British Transport Police: “Officers from the British Transport Police continue to support colleagues from Greater Manchester Police with the major incident at Manchester Arena.

 “We were first called at around 10.35pm yesterday (Monday 22 May) and a number of our officers remain on scene assisting our emergency services partners.

 “Tragically, 19 lives were lost and around 50 more people were injured. Our thoughts are with all of those affected and who will be coming to terms with this devastating news.

 “An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. It is 0161 856 9400.

 “As the public would expect in response to an incident such as this, extra BTP officers will be on patrol at key railway stations as well as on trains around the country. Throughout the day, commuters can expect to see additional officers on their journey. This will include both armed and unarmed officers.

“My officers are there to reassure concerned members of the public and we’d ask people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 123.

 “Until known otherwise, police are treating this as a terrorist incident. Incidents such as this will undoubtedly shock the nation, however, it is essential we stand together in unity against those who try to disrupt our lives.

 “Manchester Victoria station remains closed, with services being heavily disrupted or suspended, we continue to urge people to avoid the area whilst the recovery efforts continue. We advise morning commuters to check with Transport for Greater Manchester, National Rail Enquiries and Northern before travelling.”

 

Government

Prime Minister Theresa May and COBRA will meet this morning. All parties have suspended electioneering for today.

Richard Lease - Leader of Manchester Council has said Manchester needs to stand together in the face of tragedy and Mayor Andy Burnham has sent his condolences. Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron have also sent messages of support to those affected.

 

International

The US Department of Homeland Security is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena and working with counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

'U.S. citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness. We encourage any affected U.S. citizens who need assistance to contact the U.S. Embassy in London and follow Department of State guidance.

'At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

'We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the U.K. in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident'.

President Xi Jinping of China is said to have phoned the Queen to offer his country's condolences.

Prime Minister Theresa May has upgraded the UK's security threat level to Critical and a deserted Manchester Arena

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 25 May 2017

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