Armed police will be deployed to World Cup match screenings across Britain to protect fans from possible terror attacks.
Anti-terror officers have today warned large crowds at outdoor screenings could attract extremists as the tournament kicks off in Russia.
Hundreds of undercover officers will be drafted in to police matches broadcast in parks, town and city centres across the country.
While there is no specific intelligence that points toward the coming month’s football celebrations being a target, anti-terror experts still want fans to be careful.
Anti-terror police have warned football fans outdoor screenings could be terror targets. Pictured fans watch a game in Trafalgar Square, central London
Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth of Protect and Prepare Policing said: ‘Sadly we have seen that these big public events and crowded spaces can be targeted by those who want to cause harm, but I want to reassure the public that the police, partners and the event organisers are doing all we can to keep them safe and secure.
‘Some of that protection can be seen with visible security guards and local officers and a significant amount of the security measures will be less obvious and are deployed for extra protection.
‘Don’t think you might be wasting our time, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn’t look or feel right, tell someone.
‘We want you to enjoy the games, enjoy the atmosphere and by remaining vigilant we can all stay safe.’
Hundreds of undercover and armed officers will be drafted in to police matches broadcast in parks, town and city centres across the country. File image used
Former England star Alan Shearer is teaming up with Chief Supt Aldworth to urge fans to stick together and report anything suspicious.
He said: ‘Security is a team effort. If you’re going to see the game have a great time and look out for each other. Know your game plan and we can keep everyone safe.’
Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman and England defender Paul Parker are also part of the ‘Game Plan’ campaign.
England fans have been warned by police not to sing provocative songs or wave the St George’s flag at the tournament in Russia.
Officials fear recent political tensions over the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury and a history of hooliganism could see fan clashes turn nasty.
ISIS has also released propaganda material inciting members to carry out attacks at stadiums hosting matches across Russia.
While there is no specific intelligence that points toward the coming month’s football celebrations being a target, anti-terror experts still want fans (pictured in Moscow ahead of the tournament this week) to be careful
In the UK there has been a rise in the number of terror threats and counter-extremist arrests, figures reveal.
Officers arrested 441 suspected terrorists in the last year – a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.
There were 768 stop and searches during the year ending March 2018 – 70 per cent more than the previous one.
Five major attacks devastated the UK last year, with assaults on London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Finsbury Park Mosque, Parsons Green Tube Station and the Manchester Arena leaving 36 dead.
Former England star Alan Shearer (pictured left) is teaming up with police to urge fans to stick together and report anything suspicious. Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman (right) is also part of the campaign