Armed police ready for take-off to offer reassurance at Sunderland Airshow

Armed police at last year's Sunderland Airshow.
Armed police at last year's Sunderland Airshow.
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Police are gearing up for take-off for this year's Sunderland International Airshow - deploying armed police to offer reassurance.

Now in its 29th year, the annual event held on the city's seafront at Roker and Seaburn is one of the biggest free annual airshows in Europe, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the city's seafront over the three day programme.

And, once again, Northumbria Police will be offering its support to the event to help spectators enjoy a fun family day out.

For the third year running the policing operation will be led by Silver Commander Superintendent Sarah Pitt who, along with her team, has been working closely with the organisers to ensure the event runs smoothly and is turbulence free.

Plans are in place and officers will be on patrol in and around the city throughout the airshow weekend to help visitors to the event as well as support local residents.

Supt Pitt said: "The Sunderland International Airshow is a fantastic event for the city, we look forward to it each year and are really pleased and proud to once again be involved and offering our support.

"We're working closely with the organisers and are working hard to put plans and preparations in place to make sure visitors to the show have a fun and enjoyable family day out and that our local residents are not disrupted too much.

"We're very mindful that, due to the recent tragic incidents in Manchester and London, some people may be concerned about such a huge event in the city but I would like to reassure people that public safety is our priority, there is no specific threat to the event and we have been working closely with Sunderland City Council and other partners to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.

"We will have officers on patrol in and around the city throughout the airshow weekend. Some of these officers will be armed to keep the public safe. I really would encourage people to stop and speak to them, events like this are a great opportunity for us to engage with members of the public and our officers are always happy to chat.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “The airshow is always a calendar highlight, not only is it popular with the people of Sunderland, it attracts visitors from all over.

"Events like this require a lot of hard work and planning to ensure everything runs smoothly and safely for all who attend, so I want to thank all those involved – organisers, our police officers and partners – without them the event wouldn’t be the year on year success it’s famous for. I hope this will be the best yet.”

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly added: “Our community safety partners from Northumbria Police will provide a re-assuring presence at the airshow, and we hope everyone will make officers feel welcome.

“A lot of multi-agency planning goes into every public event, and the close working relationship developed over many years helps ensure that the different demands of different organisations are met.

“The Sunderland International Airshow is a fantastic event and we are all working together to make sure that people feel safe, secure and relaxed while also taking any increased security concerns into account.”