Armed police to patrol Manchester’s Christmas markets for first time

Armed police will patrol Manchester’s Christmas markets for the first time this year.

They will work with undercover plain clothes officers carrying guns who will mingle with the crowds.

Barriers will also be erected at key locations in the city centre.

The heightened security follows the Manchester Arena bomb arrack and the fact that the current threat level to the UK from international terrorism according to the Metropolitan Police is severe.

It is hoped that the measures will reassure the millions of visitors who are expected at the markets in two weeks time.

In previous years, armed response units in vehicles have been within the vicinity of the city centre during the Christmas markets, but for the first time officers with guns will be visible and amongst shoppers.

Chris Hill, Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP’s) city centre team, said: “We are absolutely committed to keeping people safe as they enjoy everything Manchester city centre has to offer over the festive period.

“We are working closely with Manchester City Council and other partners to ensure everyone feels secure and officers will be placed in key areas throughout.

“If anyone is concerned about anything please approach one of them immediately or call 999 in an emergency.”

“As well as increased security GMP will be encouraging shoppers and staff in stores to be vigilant.”

Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s city centre spokesperson, said: “Public safety is absolutely paramount at any event, and it is important for us that we can reassure people visiting our Christmas Markets that they know that we have done everything we can to make their visit is enjoyable and safe.

“We are working closely with Greater Manchester Police to satisfy ourselves that the security in place is as robust as possible, and visitors to our markets will see the precautionary measures we are taking to ensure their safety.”

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