ARMED police will be on duty at Warrington’s Golden Square in the run-up to Christmas as part of high visibility policing.
Following the positive response from the public toward armed officers patrolling at Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire Constabulary is expanding the armed patrols to Warrington Golden Square and Chester City Centre from today (Saturday 20 November).
The policing tactic, where armed officers will be patrolling carrying firearms, is something other forces already use at airports and in city centres.
The weeks before Christmas often see an increase in people descending on busy shopping centres. With that in mind, this year, armed officers will occasionally be patrolling at various times of the day to support local officers in providing reassurance during this busy time.
Chief Inspector Simon Newell from the Cheshire and North Wales Armed and Dogs Alliance said: “This isn’t something new in policing and has been used successfully in other police forces where you may have seen armed officers when you have been doing your Christmas shopping in busy city centres in the past. It’s a measure we’ve been considering and believe it will strike the right balance between reassuring shoppers and businesses, whilst disrupting and deterring criminal activity. Our aim is to reassure you – not give you something to worry about. Our officers are there to keep you safe.
“The reaction to armed police at Cheshire Oaks over the last week has been overwhelmingly positive with shoppers saying they felt reassured seeing the officers on patrol. Based on this encouraging response, you will now see these patrols in Warrington and Chester supporting your local officers. This will also complement the Project Servator patrols. The idea had been planned for some time, but is timely following the increase of the national threat level to severe.
“I’d like to stress however, there is no specific intelligence to suggest there is any threat and you should feel safe in the knowledge our officers are there while you get on with your Christmas shopping.
“Our officers will be more than happy to chat to you about their presence, and if you do spot something that doesn’t seem right, please let them know and they can check it out.”