Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray responds to last night’s attack:
We remain deeply shocked following last night’s tragic incident in Manchester and all our thoughts are with those affected.
We have provided some support to Greater Manchester Police to assist in the policing of the incident in the early stages.
Greater Manchester Police continue with their investigation − at this stage there are no known links between the perpetrator and the West Midlands. We continue to liaise with GMP to establish if there are any victims from our area.
Here in the West Midlands, our focus is on providing an appropriate policing response over the coming days.
We have a variety of tactics available to us on a 24/7 basis − we have teams of local neighbourhood officers, response officers, specialist firearms officers and traffic officers on duty around the clock.
Looking forward to the weekend, Birmingham plays host to Pride which is a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event and we’re expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the city. This is an annual event with a parade, music and festivities which is enjoyed by many.
I appreciate that people planning to attend may feel a sense of nervousness − I would like to take this opportunity to give you some reassurance that a full policing operation is in place and is subject to ongoing reviews.
We will have a large number of police officers, specials and police staff on hand to keep the public safe − this isn’t only for the Pride event, but also for anyone visiting the city to enjoy all it has to offer.
I must stress that the threat level nationally remains severe meaning an attack is highly likely. Tragic events like last night’s explosion in Manchester remind us that attacks can occur at any time or place without warning.
Everyone needs to be vigilant − be alert not alarmed. As ever, we ask the public to be our eyes and ears. If something doesn’t feel right, call us. We act on every piece of information, no click or call will be ignored, we will only take action after appropriate checks have been carried out.
As we saw last night, terrorists wait for those moments when we’re not looking − that’s why vigilance and awareness of everyone is key to combatting terrorism.
There are many ways you can report − through local police on 101 or in an emergency 999, via the Anti Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and online you can click on the red button on the West Midlands Police website to report online terrorist and extremist material.
Locally our West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit continues to work with national security services to keep our region safe. This includes playing a key role in stopping people getting drawn into terrorism and violent extremism in all forms.
It is really important for us all to remember that acts of terrorism and hate crimes are committed by a small minority of people and those people do not represent the public. This is a time for us all to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson added:
Last night’s events in Manchester are simply beyond words. It took place in a city and a venue I know well and have many happy memories of.
The response of the emergency services and specifically colleagues at Great Manchester Police has been exemplary as has the community who have rallied around. As the casualty list becomes public it will be simply unbearable. It is an attack on families, children and young people.
We will support Greater Manchester Police in any way we can across the next days, weeks and months.