This afternoon Deputy National Co-ordinator Protect and Prepare, Adam Thomson, spoke to Industry Sector Leads on a CSSC Bridge Call to update them on the incident that took place Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15th March 2019.
The below message was distributed by the CSSC for sharing;
Police were called at approximately 1340hrs 15 March, Christchurch, New Zealand, to reports of shots being fired at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand.
The incident was announced as a terrorist attack by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
A gunman, maybe more, attacked the two mosques, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque.
The attacker streamed a live video of the attack that was taken down in New Zealand but is still showing on worldwide media.
Between the two mosques, a total of 49 people were killed and 20 were seriously injured.
Two improvised explosive devices were subsequently found in vehicles and have been deactivated by police.
Following the incident the police arrested an Australian national who was subsequently charged with murder and who will appear in court tomorrow.
Reports indicate that three more individuals have been arrested in relation to the incident.
Local authorities have evacuated residents and cordoned off the area.
A joint Australian and NZ investigation has been launched to identify further suspects.
The arrested suspect had indicated his intentions and the location of the attacks in a message posted on social media and in an e-mail sent to national and international media organisations. This message was sent 12 minutes prior to the attack.
This is particularly poignant as there was a 12 minute window in which the information about the attack was in the public space, providing a crucial opportunity for it to be reported to the necessary authorities. This emphasises the need of everyone to remain vigilant to any such threat messages and to respond immediately by reporting them to 999 or by calling the confidential police helpline on 0800 789 321.
Deputy National Co-ordinator Protect and Prepare Adam Thomson said:
“As Counter Terrorism Policing, we have liaised with authorities in New Zealand to offer support through International Operations. Impacts of the incident in the UK, specifically community tensions, are being closely monitored. I want to reassure everyone that additional resources have been deployed at mosques across the UK to undertake patrols and to provide reassurance during Friday prayers and that we have provided additional protective security where required. We need to build cohesive communities and ensure that our relationship with communities of all faiths remains strong so that we can help raise their awareness of how they can protect themselves and prepare themselves should such incidents occur.”