Belfast Telegraph

Critical terror threat level applies to Northern Ireland, says police chief Hamilton

Increased police presence but no military deployment

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has confirmed that the international terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland has been increased to critical.

He was commenting on the local response after Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the threat level across the UK had been increased from severe to critical level.

He said: "This critical threat level (when an attack is expected imminently) also applies to Northern Ireland.

"In response to this increased threat, I have reviewed our operational profile. The public will see an increased police presence at iconic sites, our transport networks and where large numbers of people congregate."

In Belfast extra security measures are in place for shows taking place at the SSE Arena.

Op Temperer, the military deployment in response to the Manchester attacks, will not apply here. George Hamilton

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."

The chief constable also made reference to the "current threat level from violent dissident republicans across Northern Ireland" which, he said, remains at "severe" level.

On Tuesday night, Mrs May said the terror threat level was increased after investigations revealed Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi may not have acted alone.

She said: "The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

The Prime Minister said Operation Temperer - allowing military personnel to take to the streets - was now in force in Great Britain.

"This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

"You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe."

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