Concrete barriers will be in place on a Sussex seafront during this week’s Airbourne in a bid to prevent a Nice style terrorist attack, police have revealed.
Sussex Police said while the nationally assessed terrorist threat to the four day festival of flight in Eastbourne is unchanged since last year, “lessons had been learned from recent events abroad and additional security measures including concrete barriers would be in place”.
More than 80 people died when a truck smashed into a crowd in the French resort in a terrorist attack on revellers enjoying a fireworks display last month.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to line Eastbourne seafront for Airbourne, which runs from Thursday August 11 until Sunday August 14.
Eastbourne Police chief Emma Brice said that as in previous years, the force’s priority is the well-being of all concerned, be they visitors to the show and seaside resort, or members of the local community.
“For several months now we’ve been working closely with the organisers and partner agencies to ensure a safe and enjoyable Airbourne for all,” said Chief Inspector Brice.
“In terms of security, where public safety has been significantly compromised as seen in recent events abroad, we’ve looked at lessons to be learned and reviewed our own plans to keep Airbourne as safe as we can.
“While the nationally assessed terrorist threat to Airbourne is unchanged from 2015, we will have some additional security measures in place. For instance, this year we will be using some concrete barriers.”
Police have neither confirmed or denied that armed officers will be at the event.
Chief Insp Brice said, “Most people are unlikely to notice any difference from previous years and none of the changes we have made should affect the enjoyment of people attending the event.”
A spokesperson at Eastbourne Borough Council, which organises Airbourne, said, “We’re pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Sussex Police on key aspects of this popular event.
“We will have in place reasonable and proportionate measures to ensure that all attending feel confident they are visiting a safe environment.”
Chief Insp Brice said while stewards and security staff have been thoroughly trained to recognise and respond to any incidents that may arise, and officers and resources are being carefully deployed, visitors and residents can also play their part in keeping things safe.
“For example, we’d ask people to take care of their belongings, follow personal safety advice and immediately report any issues or suspicious behaviour to event staff or police. In an emergency, always dial 999.”
To help safeguard children in particular it’s suggested that parents and guardians make plans with their youngsters about what to do if they become separated.
Police cadets will be handing out free wristbands on which responsible adults can write a contact phone number should a child go astray. There will also be a lost people marquee and rendezvous at Wilmington Square, opposite the Wish Tower, on Eastbourne seafront.
People arriving by car are asked to allow extra time for their journeys and to follow the advice of stewards and police officers to try to minimise any disruption or delays.
For more information about policing aspects of Airbourne, please call the force’s non-emergency number 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org