I had to pop into Chelmsford late yesterday afternoon on an errand.
In the pedestrianised High Street just by Lloyd’s Bank, two police response cars were parked and just by them, two uniformed police officers were chatting.
There was nothing remotely unusual about this, save the fact that these were armed officers and their sub-machine guns were visible to anyone going about their business.
Just as I was, you will have been appalled by the appalling, shocking bomb attack in Manchester which has led to this highly visible armed police presence in busy shopping streets. You will also know, as everybody passing by in Chelmsford yesterday did, why that armed police presence is necessary – we are at the highest state of alert for a terrorist attack.
And they will have been reassured, not worried, seeing that extra armed police presence.
Manchester proved that the terrorists will strike at the softest of targets. There is no specific threat here in Essex, but our Police are prepared should one emerge.
Over the holiday weekend, we will see more armed police in public spaces, such as railway stations, or at sporting events, or where crowds of people might gather in general.
Their presence there doesn’t mean anything is going to happen. But it will help protect us in the event that it does. I for one – and I am sure you will agree with me – am grateful they are there.