Manchester. The scene of the latest, mindless terror attack to hit the streets of the UK. Twenty two people needlessly murdered and scores of others injured. I was making my way back from Carrow Road following the Norfolk Senior Cup Final between King’s Lynn and Fakenham, when I started getting alerts. It’s a stark reminder that acts of terror can happen anywhere, at any time and to anyone.
I grew up in London at the height of the IRA campaign where security alerts, controlled explosions and bombs going off were sadly a regular part of life. But I was never deterred or put off from doing anything or going anywhere.
In the hours that followed the Manchester attack, the country’s security services and independent advisors took the decision to increase the UK’s terror threat level. This saw a ramping up of high profile policing, additional armed officers across the UK and the use of military personnel in key locations.
We saw soldiers patrol the Houses of Parliament, royal venues and other “at risk” locations. We even saw armed patrols on the streets of King’s Lynn offering reassurance to all of us.
A day or so later, however, I was shocked to hear that the selfless brave men and women who put their lives on the line for us were made to feel far from welcome in the town. How disgraceful! In stark contrast, the people of Norwich welcomed the sight of armed officers, giving them bottles of water and asking to have their picture taken with them. What is so wrong about seeing armed officers on our streets? They were there to keep us safe and not make us feel intimidated or scared. Come on King’s Lynn, get a grip!
Sticking with the theme of police, I would like to say thank you to one officer in particular. PC Mick Futter who retired from the Norfolk Constabulary last week. For 27 years he patrolled West Norfolk in numerous roles. Dedicated to his job and the people he policed. Thank you Mick and enjoy your retirement.