West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson has thanked the public for the “overwhelming support and encouragement” they’ve shown his officers since armed patrols took to the streets in response to the heightened terror threat.
Firearms officers have been a common sight across the region with more than 20 strategic sites being guarded by armed cops, while there is an increased police presence at many more locations and additional high-visibility patrols.
West Midlands Police officers have been working around the clock in light of the Manchester concert attack – with some shift patterns extended to provide extra resilience – to protect and reassure the public.
And Chief Constable Thompson said their commitment has not gone unnoticed by the public with many officers telling how they’ve been humbled by the reaction.
He added: “Many people are approaching officers simply to say thank-you, ask questions or shake their hand…local businesses are also showing their support by offering refreshments for officers on their patrol routes.
“These are concerning times for everyone: I don’t underestimate how unnerving it might be for people to see police carrying guns on the streets.
“But the increased police presence has really been welcomed by the public…I want them to know that their support is hugely appreciated and has been a boost for our officers. I sense there is a real feeling that we are all in this together.
“People get into policing to help and protect the public …and never has that been more important than now. I’m immensely proud of our officers; they’ve risen to the challenge brilliantly and made sacrifices to keep the public safe.”And Mr Thompson urged communities across the West Midlands to play their part in the fight against terrorism and radicalisation.
He added: “The public have an important role to play in combating terrorism. We would ask people to be vigilant…and if they see anything that causes concern or have suspicions about someone’s behaviour, then call the police or the Anti-Terror Hotline.
“Don’t ignore your suspicions. We would rather respond to what turns out to be a false alarm than not be notified of a genuine threat – all information will be taken seriously and treated sensitively.”
There are many ways you can report − through local police on 101 or in an emergency 999, via the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and online you can click on the red button on the West Midlands Police website to report online terrorist and extremist material.