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Security for New Year’s Eve celebrations reviewed after terror attacks

Armed police will guard hundreds of thousands of revellers expected to descend on London on December 31.

Fireworks light up the sky over Parliament in central London during the New Year celebrations (Ben Stevens/PA)
Fireworks light up the sky over Parliament in central London during the New Year celebrations (Ben Stevens/PA)

Security for the New Year’s Eve celebrations in London has been reviewed in the wake of this year’s terror attacks, Scotland Yard said.

The hundreds of thousands of party-goers expected to descend on the capital on December 31 can expect to see armed police on patrol, plus dog units and vehicle barriers, Superintendent Nick Aldworth said.

It comes after London was hit by four major terrorist incidents in 2017, including March’s attack on the palace of Westminster which saw five people including Pc Keith Palmer killed, and June’s attack at London Bridge which left eight people including three terrorists dead.

There were also terror attacks near the Finsbury Park mosque during Ramadan in June and on a Tube train at Parsons Green station in south-west London.

There was also a major terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which killed 22.

An attack in New York in October left eight dead and terrorists killed 16 people in atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils in Spain in August.

Mr Aldworth said: “The policing plan has been developed and reviewed following the tragic incidents that have occurred through the year.

“Whilst there is no specific threat to this event, we ask people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to an officer or event staff.

“We will have the right response of officers at the right locations; this will be a mix of overt and covert officers deployed, as well as dogs, and the use of CCTV and automatic number plate recognition.

“People can expect to see armed officers in the area and we will be using vehicle barriers across the event area.

Armed police on Borough High Street at London Bridge, where a terrorist attack took place. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Security is paramount for us and so we ask for patience and co-operation when getting through the check and search points.”

London is a major centre for New Year’s Eve celebrations and security around celebrations has already been heightened in recent years.

Last year there were fears of a mass-casualty terror plot targeting one of the country’s New Year events following the attacks on crowded areas in Nice and Berlin.

The traditional New Year’s Eve firework display saw the crowd watched by 3,000 police officers in a bid to keep crowds safe.

Police patrol Parliament Square in central London, prior to the start of the New Year celebrations on December 31 2016 (Ben Stevens/PA)

This year, about 100,000 ticket-holders will watch the 12-minute spectacle light up the skyline from the bank of the River Thames on Sunday.

It will feature a soundtrack dominated by female artists to mark the centenary of women being granted the vote.

Scotland Yard advised people without a ticket for the sold-out event to watch “from the comfort and warmth of your home”.

A spokeswoman for London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The safety of Londoners is the mayor’s number one priority.

“He and his team are in close contact with the Metropolitan Police, TfL and other key agencies, and we have appropriate plans for security in place.

“Of course, we encourage everyone coming to the event to be vigilant and to report anything of concern to a steward or police officer.”



From Belfast Telegraph