Police step up patrols around Essex mosques after New Zealand massacre
PUBLISHED: 12:09 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 15 March 2019
The chief constable of Essex Police has said the force will be increasing patrols around the county’s mosques after at least 49 people were killed in a mass shooting in New Zealand.
Chief constable BJ Harrington has released a statement to say he is saddened by the terrorist attack in Christchurch, which saw dozens of worshippers killed and many more injured in a shooting spree at two mosques in the city.
Ch Con Harrington said the force would be stepping up patrols around the county’s mosques to reassure the community in the wake of the “appalling events”.
Officers will also be reaching out to people of all faiths to give advice on how to stay safe.
“I was saddened to hear about the appalling events in New Zealand and on behalf of everyone at Essex Police I send sincere condolences to all those affected,” he said.
“Today we will be stepping up our reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faiths, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves.
“We have strong communities across the county who I know will be uniting following these events and ensuring that we stand together against acts of terrorism.”
He added: “Places of worship can also use our online training package ‘ACT Awareness eLearning’ for advice on Protective Security and how to react should the worst happen.
“We take all forms of extremism seriously and anyone with concerns about someone becoming radicalised can get advice and support through the PREVENT programme.
What happened in New Zealand?
The attack, which has killed 49 and injured at least 20 more, is thought to have been carried out by a right-wing extremist from Australia.
The suspected gunman appeared to have live-streamed the terror attack and outlined his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto posted online.
The country’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, said 49 people were confirmed dead and a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier said at least 20 other people had been seriously injured, and described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, adding: “What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
Mr Bush said the man charged with murder is expected to appear in court on Saturday morning.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier said one of the people arrested was an Australian citizen, and described the suspected attacker as an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist”.