‘Extra vigilance’ at Luton Carnival

A previous Luton Carnival parade
A previous Luton Carnival parade

Police presence will be bolstered at Luton Carnival on Sunday after the UK terrorism threat was raised to ‘Critical’.

An increased police presence was already planned for this year’s carnival even before the Manchester terror attack on Monday, which claimed 22 lives.

But since then, security operations for crowded places are being reviewed and additional patrols are to be carried out in town centres for public reassurance.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “It was with incredible sadness that I watched the events unfold in Manchester.

“I have personally experienced such incidents at close quarters and my heart sinks whenever I hear those first reports of an explosion having occurred.

Chairman of Beds Police Federation Jim Mallen issued a message to Beds Police officers after the UK terror threat was raised to ‘Critical’.

He stated: “This will have a significant impact on resourcing and events.

“We are working hard within the force to minimised disruption to officers but please bear with us in these unprecedented times as public safety must come first.”

Ch Con Boutcher added: “This weekend is the Luton Carnival and I ask that all of those involved in policing this wonderful family and community event are extra vigilant as all of our colleagues will be whilst policing similar events across the country this weekend.”

Detective Superintendent Glen Channer, head of the Eastern Crime Terrorism Investigation Unit, said: “We have close policing partnerships across the UK and we will all be working together to respond in the aftermath of such a shocking and senseless attack.

“The security and intelligence services are dedicated to keeping people safe and communities can be confident that, together with our partners, eastern forces are continually working hard to safeguard the public.

Beds Fire and Rescue Service will also take part in the parade at the carnival, and together with police they have produced a float with Hillborough Junior School.

Chief fire officer Paul Fuller said: “We are delighted to have been working with the police and the children of Hillborough Junior School to take part in Europe’s biggest one-day carnival.

“It was a great opportunity for us to all work together to get the message out about the services that we provide to the people of Bedfordshire and Luton and have fun at the same time.”

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has also offered her condolences following the Manchester concert explosion.

Mrs Holloway said: “I am a mother-of-two and the horror and loss of the families of those involved in the tragic event in Manchester is indescribable. I want to offer my deepest condolences to anyone affected and to those that have lost loved ones. Everyone involved will continually be in my thoughts today, as the police try to piece together the events that unfolded last night.”

A helpline has been set up by Greater Manchester Police for those concerned about loved ones in the area (0161 856 9400).

For more information about reporting suspicious activity and remaining alert to the terror threat, visit https://act.campaign.gov.uk/.