Christchurch mosque shootings: West Yorkshire Police step up patrols around mosques

Police across West Yorkshire are stepping up patrols outside mosques and other places of worship in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 3:08 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 3:13 pm
A police van parks outside Makkah Mosque in Leeds to reassure worshipers, following the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand. (Danny Lawson / PA wire)

West Yorkshire Police issued a statement which said there was no new increased threat to the region, but that extra officers would be deployed to reassure communities of all faiths.

Patrols are being stepped up across the country as Muslims attend Friday prayers.

Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Four arrests have been made.

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West Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable John Robins said: “We stand together with our Muslim communities and all those shocked and horrified by this terrorist attack in New Zealand.

“Today’s tragic events demonstrate that attacks can occur at any time and without warning. There is no new increased threat to West Yorkshire. The UK threat level remains at Severe meaning an attack is highly likely.

“Today we are stepping up reassurance patrols around places of worship and increasing engagement with communities of all faiths.”

Chief Constable Robins said the force would continue to review the situation.

He added: “We would ask the public to continue to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity, behaviour or concerns to the police. Information can be passed to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321 or people should dial 999 in an emergency.

“We’d also encourage everyone to be aware of our Run, Hide, Tell advice.”

Leeds Grand Mosque said in a statement this afternoon: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have died in New Zealand; may Allah accept them in the highest levels of Paradise, ameen.

“This is indeed a sad day for us and a time to stand in solidarity with the victims. Be vigilant today but not fearful. Please attend Jummah Salah (Friday prayers) as normal and make a prayer for the safety of us all.

“May Allah bless you all with safety and accept your prayers today.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will hold talks with anti-terrorism chiefs and security officials to discuss possible further measures to protect mosques in the UK.

National policing lead for counter-terrorism Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "Together with our intelligence partners we continually monitor the varied threats we face, including to and around places of worship and specific communities across the country, to ensure we have the most appropriate protective security measures in place to keep people safe.

"Today we will be stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves."

Security minister Ben Wallace told the House of Commons that later that he and the Home Secretary would be speaking with police counter-terrorism leaders and security services "to discuss what further measures we can take to protect our mosques and our communities from any threats here in the United Kingdom".