By Jamie Williams
LEEDS will have no extra security measures at this year’s Christmas markets despite the UK terror threat level being at severe.
Kirkgate Christmas Market opened on November 18, and Leeds Christkindelmarkt German Market is already open in Millennium Square. While other cities across the country have beefed up security, no visible action has been taken in Leeds in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester this year.
Greater Manchester Police and West Midlands Police have this year taken extra measures including adding steel and concrete barriers as well as having armed police patrolling the Manchester and Birmingham Christmas markets.
York also has extra barriers as has the Winter Wonderland in London, where bag checks have been introduced for everyone attending the event.
Assistant chief constable Russ Foster of West Yorkshire Police said: “West Yorkshire Police is experienced in dealing with large scale policing events and has detailed plans for protecting public events over the Christmas and New Year period.
“The threat level in the UK is currently at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.
“While we can’t afford to be complacent, the public should be reassured that police, partners and commercial organisations consistently review and assesses security measures in line with the existing threat and are working hard together to keep them safe and secure.”
In September, Kirkgate Market and the surrounding area was evacuated in a bomb scare after a suspicious package was found, which later was found to be safe.
The Berlin Christmas Market terrorist attack in December 2016 left 12 dead and a further 56 injured.
Coun Pat Karney from Manchester City Council said: “Visitors to our markets will see the precautionary measures we are taking to make sure everyone who visits the city feels safe, and that they know we have done everything we can to make their visit enjoyable.
“We have worked closely with GMP to make sure the security in place is as robust as possible, and we look forward to welcoming the millions of visitors to our Christmas markets over the next six weeks.”
Superintendent Chris Hill from GMP said: “People’s natural response when they see extra security can sometimes be one of fear or concern, worrying that the extra measures mean that it’s more dangerous.
The Leeds Christmas Markets run until December 24 whilst the Kirkgate Christmas Market runs until December 16.