Officers to continue to provide assurance this Christmas

Christmas shoppers will continue to see more visible armed and unarmed officers at key locations in Kent this festive season.

While there is no specific information to suggest any direct threats to the county, the extra patrols will help to keep people safe and assured by providing a deterrent to anyone who may be planning to cause harm or commit other offences.

Key locations armed officers will be visiting include Bluewater and the Ashford Designer Outlet, as well as at Canterbury Cathedral, the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal in Folkestone.

Shoppers and visitors to festive events may also see extra security measures such as barriers and bollards as local authorities take steps to protect crowds in popular areas.

Business owners and staff have also received training in how to identify and report suspicious behaviour.

Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker of Kent Police said: ‘Christmas is a busy time of year for our high streets and shopping centres and we are committed to keeping everyone safe in the run-up to the big day.

‘It has been just over a year since we introduced overt firearms patrols to our existing patrol strategy, which has resulted in positive feedback from the people and businesses of Kent.

‘We regularly review the threat levels in the county in consultation with the Home Office to ensure we provide the most appropriate protection to our communities, and it is only sensible that during times of increased footfall at key locations we take whatever precautions are necessary.

‘It is important to stress that there is nothing to suggest a direct threat to Kent but we want the public to understand why there are currently more officers on patrol, and not to panic when they see those armed with firearms or Tasers.’

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