Police out in force for Torch

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POLICE across Northumberland will be out in force to ensure a safe Olympic Torch Relay for spectators.

Planning for the event has been under way for several months and the region’s forces have been working closely with a number of partners.

Officers are responsible for preventing crime and disorder during the relay and making sure that onlookers can watch in safety.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who is leading the operation for Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland, said: “We’re committed to helping deliver a safe and secure Olympic Torch Relay, working with neighbouring forces and all our partners to ensure a fantastic event ahead of the main Games.

“We’ve also been working with the Metropolitan Police, who are responsible for the security of the Torch, and with LOCOG, the Olympic Games’ organisers.

“We’ve a wealth of experience in delivering major public events and have put in place structures for national co-ordination and command at a regional and local level. This will ensure we manage the complexities of the Torch relay as it crosses boundaries and borders.”

He added: “We’ve been watching the relay as it travels across the country and it’s fantastic to see so many people coming out to see the spectacle.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all the torchbearers and it’s our job to ensure they enjoy their moment in safety.

“However, our priority is to strive to ensure that the Torch and the stories of those who carry it are the centre of attention, not our policing.

“We will be professional in our duty, wherever possible remaining in the background.

“The wider communities can also be reassured that it will be policing as normal across the force areas throughout the Torch relay and our day to day businesses won’t be affected.”