Northumbria Police will have search teams and armed officers patrolling Sunderland Airshow to make sure the event goes off without a hitch.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt said there is “no direct intelligence” suggesting any targeted threat to the show, but – as one of England’s biggest free events – plans are in place to keep those attending safe.
Armed officers carrying machine guns will have a visible presence, while officers and search dogs will be on the site and in the city centre over the three days.
“We’ve been doing it [armed patrols] for two years now,” Chief Supt Pitt told ChronicleLive.
“It’s just around reassuring the public that come to large events.”
Police are encouraging people to approach and chat with officers, especially if the sight of guns makes children feel uneasy. Officers, Chief Supt Pitt says, are more than happy to talk to the public.
People attending are welcome to take their own and food and drink. However police will be looking for underage drinkers, while sniffer dogs are also being deployed to keep the area safe. Aerial drones are banned from the site for security reasons.
Anyone drinking alcohol is urged to do responsibly. Police will be bringing testing strips which can identify alcohol disguised as soft drinks, to curb underage drinking.
“People who are coming to the event: drink responsibily. It’s a public area, if you’re going to bring alcohol, drink sensibily.”
It’s a busy weekend for the force, with Ladies Day at Newcastle Racecourse and a Sunday concert in South Shields.
Northumbria Police is confident of another successful Sunderland event, after last week’s Tall Ships Festival.
Chief Supt Pitt added: “There’s a large number of people coming out to really enjoy what the North East has to offer.
“Obviously, with Sunderland, we’ve had the Tall Ships Festival, which was a five-day celebration. Around the area, we’ve also had Newcastle Pride last week, which saw fantastic crowds.”
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