Soldiers patrolled landmarks, sports fixtures and beaches, on Saturday as crowds celebrated a sunny, warm start to the bank holiday weekend.
The beach at Scarborough and the National Football Museum in Manchester were among the attractions to be guarded by the army for the first time, in response to last Monday’s terror attack.
The Duke of Cambridge and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined tens of thousands of Arsenal and Chelsea supporters at Wembley stadium for the FA Cup final, where fans had been urged to arrive well ahead of the 5.30pm kick-off. Both teams also agreed not to stage a victory parade Sunday to take pressure off the police.
At Twickenham the kick-off of the Premiership Rugby final between Exeter Chiefs and Wasps followed a minute’s silence for the 22 killed in the Manchester attack. But the big sporting day began in Hampden Park in Glasgow, where armed officers watched over extra security searches before the Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Aberdeen. And in Hull, police guarded transport hubs ahead of performances by Katy Perry and Little Mix at Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
Although the prime minister reduced the state of national alert from its highest level, “critical”, to “severe” Saturday morning, troops and armed police officers are to maintain Operation Temperer’s security boost until Monday evening, when personnel will be gradually withdrawn.
The message from authorities yesterday was “Go, but don’t take a bag”, as thousands of music lovers set out for festivals and families set off on half-term outings to amusement parks. More than 13,000 bank holiday events have reviewed safety procedures and examined risks at “choke points”. Many had extra information posted on websites.
The Oxfordshire festival expected 20,000 visitors each day and has warned of random searches and queues. Major weekend music festivals affected included Love Saves the Day at Bristol, Liverpool’s Sound City, the Harambee Pasadia camping event in Barnard Castle, Mutiny in Portsmouth and Red Rooster in Thetford.Birmingham’s Pride procession [Saturday lunchtime was the focus of particular attention. Police reassured those attending that although “a sense of nervousness” was understandable, large numbers of police officers would be on hand”.
Sundaysees further large-scale events. Thousands of runners taking part in the 10km Great Manchester Run have been emailed security instructions, and in London, organisers of the Vitality Westminster Mile said they were working closely with police and the mayor’s office on additional security measures on the MallSecurity at the Staffordshire County Show, which starts on Wednesday, is also to be increased, while safety provisions for The Champions Trophy cricket tournament, to be hosted at stadiums in London, Birmingham and Cardiff from 1 June are being reviewed, along with those in place for the Women’s World Cup that follows.