Sussex Police to review security measures following Berlin lorry attack

SUSSEX Police bosses are reviewing their security measures to protect the public over the festive following the Berlin truck attack. The force reassured residents yesterday that it has “detailed plans” in place but warned the UK threat level remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. It comes as their counterparts in Berlin last night released a Pakistani asylum seeker arrested in the aftermath of the Monday attack, believing they had the wrong man in custody.

They instead said several attackers could have been behind the market massacre. Twelve peopled have been confirmed to have been killed after the 25-tonne lorry ploughed into the crowded Christmas market with 48 injured. German authorities are treating the attack as terrorism, but no organisation has come forward to claim responsibility.

Sussex Police[1] bosses said their plans would be reviewed following the attack and asked members of the public to remain vigilant. German chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday visited the scene of the attack and laid white roses among candles at a makeshift shrine to the dead and injured. She said: “Millions of people, including myself, are asking ourselves, how can you live with the fact that, while celebrating the festive season where we want to celebrate life, somebody has come along and took so many lives?

I only know that we do not want, and we cannot live with it. “We do not allow ourselves to be paralysed by terror.” German federal public prosecutor Peter Frank said the “modus operandi” of the attack had echoes of July’s atrocity in Nice, in which 86 people died, and could have been the work of Islamic extremist groups, with the target of the attack “highly symbolic”.

A number people from Sussex are thought to have been visiting Berlin at the time of the attack with Richard Clarkson, 20, from Brighton, among them. Speaking to a national newspaper he said: “I just walked out and I saw the truck and the windscreen was broken. I didn’t see any bodies – they were very quick to cover them up I think.

“The word terrorist is being thrown round a lot at the moment and people seem scared.” As word of the attacks spread around the world, visitors from Sussex took to Twitter to reassure their families they were safe. Gareth Hawker, from Brighton, posted: “Hi all – thanks for all your messages – as you maybe aware, me and the family are in Berlin and we are safe.

Heart goes out to the victims.” Also in Berlin was Spandau Ballet singer and Brighton resident Steve Norman. He said: “We’re safe.

Different market. We almost went to that one. “In shock here.

Those poor people. It could have been any of us remember. There are dark times indeed but we will get through it.”

BERLIN WILL CARRY ON AS USUAL DESPITE HORROR LORRY ATTACK ON MARKET THE market stalls in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church were buzzing with locals and tourists from around the world on Monday afternoon. They drank mulled wine, nibbled on gingerbread and perused the many stalls.

It is one of the city’s best festive markets with an atmosphere that similar events around the world try to replicate. But terror struck shortly after 8pm when a 25-tonne lorry ploughed through the crowds at 40mph. Behind the wheel was a masked driver who crashed through the wooden market stalls, crushing dozens of people in the process.

Once the lorry stopped the driver fled and a man was found dead in the passenger seat. Those who had managed to get out of the way of the vehicle pulled the injured man from the wreckage as police tracked down the driver. The details of the incident soon started to spread and Germans around the world watched in horror at the aftermath of the latest attack on home soil.

Among them was Theresa M?ller, a German who is an intern at Eurocentres Brighton language school in North Street. On hearing what had happened she texted her cousin and a friend, both who live in Berlin. She said: “They got back to me in minutes, so I knew they were fine.

But it was quite shocking, as it is one of the most touristy places in Berlin.” The 23-year-old student from Saarbrucken, in the south west of the country, said her family was determined to continue as usual. She added: “They all had work on Tuesday so they are continuing as usual.

With the police presence I think they all feel quite safe, especially now. “We can’t stop living our lives so that’s the most important thing right now.” German-born Dr Alexandra Loske, who is a curator at the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum, learnt of the news after a business dinner in London.

She said: “I know the area incredibly well – so it is quite shocking. The market is at the heart of Berlin and it is where people gather.” The 47-year-old art historian and curator from Lewes said: “I made calls to all my friends in Berlin who were likely to go to the markets.

“Everybody was safe, but they all said ‘we were there yesterday’ or ‘we were there with kids last weekend’.” The mother-of-one was in Berlin in April, where she visited the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church. The brutalist church is known for its coloured windows and was bombed by the British during the war and then rebuilt.

She said: “The church is particularly symbolic. It has very little to do with religion, but rather healing and peace.” The attack on Berlin, in the shadow of the church’s ruin, was quite the opposite.

The carnage was seen as a direct attack on German culture and is suspected by authorities to be a terror attack. The incident appears to mimic the attacks in Nice in the summer where a radicalised Tunisian-born Frenchman drove a truck into crowds on Bastille Day, killing 86. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Monday’s carnage is the third attack on German soil this year.

In July a German-Iranian killed nine in a Munich Shopping Centre then days later a 27-year-old Syrian refugee detonated a suicide bomb outside a music festival in Ansbach, central Germany. Many Germans have feared that Berlin would be next to be attacked – and on Monday their worst fears were realised. Theresa added: “I think with all that has been happening – everybody was waiting for something to happen in Berlin.”

Experts predict Angela Merkel’s open-door policy on migration, which has divided the nation, could now end her bid for a fourth term in office next year. But for Germans, one thing that will survive is the spirit of Berlin. Dr Loske said: “Berlin will carry on as usual and that’s what I love about it.”

FORCES ON ALERT AFTER BERLIN ATTACK SUSSEX Police have announced they are joining other forces around the country in reviewing security arrangements for the festive period in the wake of the Berlin attack. Constabularies are assessing their plans for public events, while presences have been stepped up at major Christmas markets.

Members of the public were urged to remain vigilant and report any concerns, as the official threat level remains at “severe” – meaning an attack is seen as “highly likely”. A spokesman for Sussex Police[2] sought to reassure residents that the force has a “detailed” plan for protecting the public over the Christmas and new year period. He said their plans “already recognise the UK threat level is severe, which has been in place since 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely”.

He added: “As expected this time of year our public places in Sussex are busy with shoppers and those enjoying the social elements of Christmas. We continue to work with partner agencies to review the safety of our communities to ensure the most appropriate security is in place. “Our advice to the public is to be alert but not alarmed.

We ask everyone to remain vigilant and to report any concerns to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency always dial 999. “As a matter of routine, and as a precaution, we review our plans following attacks overseas.

We are doing so at present following the incident in Berlin last night andOur thoughts are with all involved.” Meanwhile Scotland Yard said it has “detailed plans for protecting public events over the Christmas and new year period”. Britain’s largest force said: “These already recognise that the threat level is at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely, and have considered a range of threats, including the use of large vehicles.

“As a matter of routine, as a precaution, we review our plans after attacks overseas, and we are doing so at present following the awful incidents in Berlin and Ankara.”

References

  1. ^ Sussex Police (www.theargus.co.uk)
  2. ^ Sussex Police (www.theargus.co.uk)

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