Fewer officers in London for New Year celebrations despite four terror attacks

Fewer Metropolitan Police officers will be working during London's New Year's Eve celebrations, Scotland Yard confirmed, despite four terror attacks in the capital during 2017.

Superintendent Nick Aldworth said the police resources would be "proportionate" and "appropriate", and that those flocking to the sold-out fireworks display on the banks of the Thames would be safe.

It comes at a time when police officer numbers across the country are at their lowest level for 30 years, according to the latest Home Office figures, with the current UK terror threat level set at severe.

Mr Aldworth said: "We are providing a proportionate number of officers based on the threat, number of people coming and the secure environment we've been able to build.

"We have fewer officers policing here this year but they represent the appropriate number of resources that we need.

"You'll understand that the planning for these events is very, very detailed, it's done by a very, very expert team. They've assessed the number of officers that we need.

"People coming into London will see armed police officers, they will see other technical measures such as cameras and security notices, what they won't see are some covert resources that are here to look after them.

"But they can come to London in the certain knowledge that that operation is being led by one of the most experienced command teams that we have. It's a safe environment."

Scotland Yard said "operational reasons" stopped them from being able to discuss specific numbers on duty this Sunday. There were 3,000 at last year's celebrations.

Mr Aldworth said the public should be "reassured" by the number of officers available.

"I think the message I would give to the public is to be reassured that we've got the right number of officers to police this event," he said.

"We want them (the public) to be alert, not alarmed.

"They can help us - there's 100,000 extra sets of eyes and ears out there that might see or hear things that might concern them, and if they feel like that, for them to come forward and tell us, no matter however small or insignificant they think it is.

"Above all, enjoy your evening and feel safe in coming here."

He said there were plans in place should there be a major incident, such as March's Westminster attack which saw five people including Pc Keith Palmer killed, and June's attack at London Bridge, which left eight people including three terrorists dead.

About 100,000 ticket-holders are expected to watch the 12-minute fireworks display.

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