Anti-terrorism road blocks in Harrogate erected
Road blocks that can withstand ramming re being erected and road closures have started as Harrogate gears up to welcome hundreds of thousands of cycling fans - and keep them and the riders safe.
This morning West Park was closed to traffic as organisers prepare the finishing line and the spectacular Fan Zone for the launch of the UIC Road World Championships this Saturday.In a series of security measures being implemented by North Yorkshire Police in Harrogate town centre, anti-vehicle bollards and gates have been erected at James Street and Cambridge Crescent.
Traffic delays are already been experienced during rush hour near the Prince of Wales roundabout.
The police say hosting one of the biggest sporting events in Harrogate and North Yorkshire for nine days will be challenging, especially in an era of terrorist threats.
But they say they have learnt from experience gained from the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour De France and have been planning it all for more than a year.
Inspector Jeff McKeown of North Yorkshire Police, said: "This is a significant challenge, particularly for a relatively small police force like North Yorkshire Police."We plan well in advance but we must inevitably make some dynamic changes later on in response to changing information and intelligence. "The gates and other measures are at locations that would have been subject of road closures anyway."But more robust measures are being brought in to create an area where vehicles are prevented from entering, meaning crowds are protected and pedestrians can move about more safely. "
The police have been talking to their colleagues in London when it comes to security to ensure they are ready for anything in Harrogate - even preventing car ramming attacks.
Insp Jeff McKeown said: "The police have worked with them to refine these and have brought in experts from the National Vehicle Threat Mitigation Unit, which is based in the Metropolitan Police."This has enabled us to access specialist equipment from the National Barrier Asset that can withstand a deliberate attempt to ram them with a vehicle."
Police are emphasising that a lot of their approach during the UCI championships will involve the help of the public under an innovative recent initiative.
The police approach for the whole nine days of the UCI is based on Project Servator.This was first launched in York in April 2017 and has now been deployed successfully in Scarborough, Harrogate and Richmondshire more than 300 times.
It’s a tactic aimed at disrupting a range of criminal activity, including terrorism, while providing a reassuring presence for the public.The approach relies on unpredictable and highly visible police deployments, while at the same time, building a network of vigilance made up of business and community partners and the general public.
Chief Inspector Fiona Willey of North Yorkshire Police’s Proactive Policing Unit, said: “Since we launched Project Servator two years ago, we’ve gone from strength-to-strength, building up networks with partners, training other organisations, and raising awareness in local communities.”
Servator officers will be present at all UCI events to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and safe time.
North Yorkshire Police say any piece of information could be important and that it is better to be safe and report it immediately.A police spokesperson said: “If you think someone’s suspicious behaviour could be linked to terrorism, it’s important to report it.”
The public can report anything in confidence at gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321.