Police ‘working round clock’ to keep people safe in Leeds as Bank Holiday events go ahead

Slam Dunk Festival will take place in Leeds tomorrow as planned.
Slam Dunk Festival will take place in Leeds tomorrow as planned.

Armed police will remain on the streets of Leeds this weekend as a number of major events go ahead as planned.

The First Direct Arena welcomes 1980s pop star Adam Ant tonight, while Millennium Square hosts a sold-out gig by The Specials and co-headliners Toots and the Maytals.

Armed police outside Leeds Art Gallery earlier this week.

Armed police outside Leeds Art Gallery earlier this week.

Both venues will also host Slam Dunk Festival performances tomorrow alongside the 02 Academy and Leeds Beckett University, where terror attack victim Courtney Boyle studied.

Also killed in Monday’s bombing at Manchester Arena were 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, of Adel, and 50-year-old Wendy Fawell, of Otley.

The attack prompted the government to raise the UK terror threat to critical on Tuesday, meaning an attack is imminent.

Since then, armed police have been carrying out regular patrols in the city centre and at key locations such as Leeds City Station to offer reassurance.

I want to reassure the public that we are doing all we can, round the clock, to keep them safe.

West Yorkshire Police said yesterday that while there is no specific threat in the county, a high visibility presence would continue in Leeds throughout the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: “I want to reassure the public that we are doing all we can, round the clock, to keep them safe.

“This includes a high-visibility policing presence and the deployment of an increased number of armed officers from West Yorkshire Police, with further armed support from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, at key locations.”

He said many events would see a higher police presence than usual but this was purely for the safety and security of those attending.

Sean Walker, of Business Against Leeds in Crime.

Sean Walker, of Business Against Leeds in Crime.

Similarly British Transport Police said there would be more officers on stations and trains.

A spokeswoman said: “We have overwhelming support from the public, and would like to thank them for this.

“We would also like to continue to remind everyone to stay calm, be vigilant, and if you spot anything at all which gives you cause for concern, let us know.

“Nothing should be considered too trivial to report and any information – regardless of whether you feel it is significant or not – may be important.”

Mr Foster echoed her message of thanks, saying: “I am really grateful for the many messages of support – directly and via social media – that our officers have received, I know it means a great deal to them.”

One card handed in to police in Leeds was signed by a woman called Christine, who described herself as a “very grateful member of the public”.

Her message said: “I just want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of you. You put your lives at risk daily to protect members of the public.”

A Deliveroo rider also posted a photo on social media showing the free bottled water which couriers had been delivering to police officers following a donation by the Co-op on Kirkgate.

Business Against Crime in Leeds manager Sean Walker said the organisation had been sharing regular updates.

“We’ve pushed that extra vigilance advice out there and there’s the extra police patrols,” he said. “People don’t seem to be put off though. They’re coming into Leeds, going about their daily lives.”

He said two additional street marshalls had been funded by 11 bars in the Call Lane and Briggate area ahead of Sunday’s Courtyard Parties event, although this had been planned prior to the attacks.

Leeds City Council yesterday said it had reviewed security arrangements for events.

It is advising people to think about pick-up and drop-off points further away from the venue, allow plenty of time to clear security, and expect intensive bag and body searches.

Similar arrangements will be in place for Slam Dunk Festival at the various sites.

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