Armed police at bank holiday events disturbing but we need to be secure - Corbyn


Jeremy Corbyn has said the deployment of armed police to protect events over the bank holiday is "disturbing" but stressed the need to protect people.

Officers will guard hundreds of events around the country this weekend in the wake of the Manchester Arena atrocity and with the terror threat level at "critical", meaning an attack is imminent.

As the Government's Cobra emergency committee met, the Labour leader said he wanted to see the threat level reduced as quickly as possible as long as it is safe to do so.

Asked if he supported the deployment of more than 1,000 armed police at major events, including the FA Cup Final at Wembley, which he will attend, Mr Corbyn said: "I find it disturbing, everybody finds it disturbing, but we have to make sure we're safe.

"I will obviously look into the situation and hope we can reduce the threat level as quickly as possible.

"We want people to be safe, we want people to enjoy a bank holiday, which is what a bank holiday is for, and we need to be secure and I think there's a balance to be drawn there.

"The balance has to be that it's police who do it rather than the Army but it's also about the strength of our communities.

"Let's come together in adversity, not divide ourselves." 

Mr Corbyn also said he was "concerned" that troops have been drafted in to protect certain potential targets, blaming the move on Tory cuts to police.

"I am concerned that the Army has now been deployed and protecting some installations in places, mainly because of the shortage in police numbers," he said.

"A Labour government has pledged absolutely clearly it will employ 10,000 more police, not less police, we need police to keep us safe, but we also need to deal with the appalling incident in Manchester, and find all those that were culpable in doing it.

"But also, as a response, come together as communities, and that was the message that came out of that huge turnout of very defiant people in Albert Square in Manchester only 18 hours after the attack."