Praise for armed police and theme park staff
ON Monday 22nd May a suicide bomber waged a horrifying attack on music goers leaving the MEN arena in Manchester at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, claiming the lives of 22 people.
In the wake of the incident armed police and soldiers have been on patrol right across the UK, including here in the Staffordshire Moorlands, after Prime Minister Theresa May raised the terror threat level from Severe to Critical.
On Saturday 27th May the threat level was reduced to Critical but a number of local tourist attractions, including the Alton Towers Resort at Farley, maintained heightened levels of security in a bid to reassure visitors that their safety was being prioritised.
Speaking about her experience at the theme park this weekend mum-of-two Gemma Halsted commented: “We visited Alton Towers this bank holiday weekend and we had lots of fun despite the weather. We took our two children aged two and one and went along with my sister and her young family.
“I can honestly say it was great to see security stepped up around the park. As we entered the actual park there were tables set up and security and Alton towers staff were checking bags and pushchairs.
“It wasn’t invasive at all and the staff were really friendly and chatted to us. As we walked further into the park there were lots of visible uniformed armed police officers present.
“We did not feel threatened by this at all-quite the opposite. The officers took the time to speak to us and the children. Lots of other visitors were chatting to them too. Security staff and armed officers were also visible when we left park too.”
An Alton Towers spokesperson commented: “We take the security of our guests and staff extremely seriously.
“We have robust security measures in place and conduct regular assessments of risks, liaising with law enforcement and intelligence agencies where necessary.
“Following the increased threat level announced by the UK Government, we will take the all the necessary steps to ensure our security measures are strengthened appropriately.”
31-year-old Gemma, a former Painsley Catholic High School pupil, added: ““We actually discussed afterwards that it was great to see this kind of enhanced security around to keep us all safe on our family day out and that it was great for our children to build trust in the police officers too.
“We did also discuss that perhaps security should be stepped up permanently at big tourist attractions like this to reduce the risk to members of the public.
“How feasible this would be we don’t know, but surely some bag checks or random body checks like at airport security should be done as a matter of course?”
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