Friday Mar 15, 2019
LONDON: Police have stepped up reassurance patrols in London and across the UK as they continue to engage with communities of all faiths following the "horrific" attacks in New Zealand, the Scotland Yard said in a statement.
"Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones, along with the emergency services personnel in New Zealand who continue to deal with this atrocity, and the wider Muslim community who have been affected," said Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of Counter Terrorism Policing.
"Whilst there is no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the UK, additional uniform patrols will continue in London and nationally over the coming days, focusing on places of worship and specific communities. We are paying specific attention to Mosques, particularly Friday prayers."
Attacks on the two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead Friday, with one gunman — identified as an Australian extremist — apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.
In what appeared to be the worst attack against Muslims in a western country, witnesses spoke of victims being shot at close range, with women and children believed to be among those killed.
The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".
Basu said they understood communities would be concerned, adding that local officers would be providing protective security advice to them.
"Many communities will be understandably concerned and local officers will be out and about providing reassurance and protective security advice to communities, places of worship and businesses," he said.
"Our utmost priority is keeping the public safe. Counter Terrorism Policing and security partners continue to work tirelessly to stop and disrupt attacks in the UK and to prevent people from being drawn into violent extremism."
The senior police official, however, urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to them.
"Police also routinely carry out daily activities to provide protection and security to the public, institutions and businesses. This activity remains under constant review to counter the threats that the UK is facing," he said.
"The public also has a part to play - and I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police."