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Armed police to be based at Birmingham New Street following terror attacks

By Richard Guttridge | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

Armed police will be based at Birmingham New Street station as part of a move to beef up security following the wave of terror attacks last year.

Armed police when they were patrolling Birmingham's New Street Station after the Manchester Arena terror attack

A new unit featuring specialist firearms officers and a police dog and handler will be at the train station so they can respond more quickly to terrorist attacks or major emergencies.

British Transport Police said its Midlands hub was part of an effort to ramp up counter-terror policing. Its team will work alongside regular officers and be able to 'respond more quickly to incidents and provide additional reassurance to passengers and rail staff'.

Britain was rocked by a series of attacks in 2017, including the Manchester Arena bomb explosion and Westminster Bridge car and knife attack in London.

Police chiefs said the move was not being made in relation to any specific threat to the West Midlands.

As one of the busiest train stations in the country, counter-terror experts said they felt it was important to increase the level of security. Its central location will also enable officers to get to other parts of the country in the event of an emergency.

Superintendent Chris Horton, from British Transport Police Specialist Operations, said: “We want the public to be reassured that wherever they go on the rail network, we have highly trained people there to protect them if needed.

“The opening of the Midlands hub provides us with a regional base for our specialist operations teams which means we can better respond to incidents should they occur, as well as patrol the network more effectively, reaching most of the country in a relatively short space of time.

“We have been preparing for the opening of the Midlands hub for some time so the new team is not being introduced in relation to any specific intelligence or threat.

“Our specialist officers are there to reassure, protect and respond to any incident should the need arise. They will be highly visible on the network and particularly around Birmingham New Street station, engaging with the public every day so people will get used to seeing them around.”

“In the current climate, we know how important it is to make sure we have specialist officers in the right place at the right time to keep people safe.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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