Comment: Praise for the people of Leeds as bomb scare causes city centre chaos

TRADERS and shoppers deserve praise for the swift evacuation of Kirkgate Market, and streets in the immediate vicinity following a security scare in the centre of Leeds.

Police evacuate Leeds market after report of suspicious package
Though this necessity – on police advice – will have caused disruption to a large number of people, the inconvenience is minimal compared to all those families whose loved ones have been killed, or seriously injured, in a wave of terrorist attacks across Britain this year.

West Yorkshire Police cordoned an area off around Leeds Kirkgate Market. PIC: James Hardisty

West Yorkshire Police cordoned an area off around Leeds Kirkgate Market. PIC: James Hardisty

As these all too frequent tragedies have demonstrated, extremists with murderous intentions are capable of striking anywhere – the young children from Leeds and Yorkshire caught up in the suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May don’t need any reminding of this.

Just as the city, and country, became accustomed to evacuations when IRA terrorists posed a risk to the security and safety of all, such occurrences reflect the fact that the current terror threat remains ‘severe’ after the attempted attack on a London Underground train at Parsons Green last Friday.

As the police and security services face up to their thankless task, their best asset is the continued co-operation of the wider public – whether it be heeding orders to evacuate a busy location like Kirkgate Market in an orderly fashion or reporting any suspicious packages or behaviour as quickly as possible.

The greater the assistance offered to detectives and others, the harder it will be terrorists – and all those with violent intentions – to undermine everyday life in cities like Leeds that are defined by their freedom and tolerance of people from all faiths and backgrounds. To paraphrase one of the more contemporary political soundbites, we’re all in it together.

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