Heightened police presence in NI as terror threat raised to ‘critical’

Chief Constable George Hamilton
Chief Constable George Hamilton

There will be an increased police presence at key sites in Northern Ireland after the terror threat level in the UK was raised to its highest level, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has said.

Last night, Prime Minister Theresa May reported that the threat level across the UK has increased from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’ level in the wake of the Manchester terror attack.

Monday’s bombing at the Manchester Arena, carried out by British-born Salman Abedi, left 22 people – including young children – and scores of people injured. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

The ‘critical’ threat level, which means an attack is expected imminently, also applies to Northern Ireland.

Chief Constable George Hamilton said the public would see an increased police presence at iconic sites, transport networks and where large numbers of people congregate.

But he added Operation Temperer, the military deployment in response to the Manchester attacks, will not apply in Northern Ireland.

In addition, the chief constable said the current threat level from violent dissident republicans across Northern Ireland continues to be classed as ‘severe’.

He added: “Events in Manchester are at the forefronts of all our minds. We send our thoughts and our sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and to the injured.

“We also send our support to the people of Manchester and to the police officers and staff at Greater Manchester Police.

“The PSNI will continue to do all we can operationally to keep people safe , however, I would ask the public, as always, to remain vigilant and alert to any suspicious activity and report anything untoward to police”.