Chief Superintendent Paul Money: Response summed up our city’s resilient spirit

Date: 20th September 2017.
Picture James Hardisty.
West Yorkshire Police cordoned an area off around Leeds Kirkgate Market, for a possible bomb scare.
Date: 20th September 2017. Picture James Hardisty. West Yorkshire Police cordoned an area off around Leeds Kirkgate Market, for a possible bomb scare.
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As the news of the terrorist attack at Parsons Green underground station was breaking, I was on the train to London to plan for the forthcoming Leeds United and Millwall fixture.

At Kings Cross there was a noticeable sense of shock from people reading about the developing situation on their phones. While I expected some local disruption in the area of the attack, what I mainly saw in our capital city was people simply going about their business as usual.

Back home in Leeds just a few days ago we saw disruption brought to part of the city centre after a bag containing a suspicious-looking item was left in Kirkgate Market.

The safety of the public always has to come first in such incidents but we never underestimate the impact and inconvenience that necessary police operations like this have on people’s daily business.

The item was eventually found to pose no threat, but the incident does illustrate the challenging times we are living in. It is reassuring to see people have a heightened awareness of potentially suspicious items, and we continue to ask people to be alert but not alarmed.

I was also really impressed with the market traders’ and the public’s co-operation during the swift evacuation of the area and the patience people showed during the hours it took for the incident to be safely resolved.

The aftermath of the Parsons Green attack saw the National Threat Assessment raised to Critical.

People in Leeds will have seen the police response most obviously in the presence of overtly armed officers at transport hubs, shopping centres, public events and other crowded places.

Those officers were there not just to reassure people, but to be on hand to protect them should the worst happen.

Officers from our neighbourhood policing teams were also playing a key role providing support and reassurance across the city’s various communities.

It is clear the threat of terrorism is something we are all now living with and this is likely to be the case for some time.

That said, it is vital that we put that risk in context and don’t let it limit our way of life, as the terrorists would want.

The police, the security services and our partner agencies will continue to do everything we can to keep people safe.

Public vigilance has a key role to play in that challenge, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to submit to fear.

I saw someone comment on Twitter after last week’s incident: “There’s a few folk in Leeds market a bomb wouldn’t stand a chance against!”. #nothingscaresus

Somewhat tongue in cheek it may have been, but it summed up the city’s resilient spirit for me.

Chief Superintendent Paul Money is the senior officer in command of policing the Leeds district, which includes neighbourhood policing, serious crime, safeguarding and response policing.

Born and bred in Leeds, he oversees the work of more than 2,000 officers and staff dealing with more than 200 crimes and 600 calls for service every day.

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