New Zealand attack: Police patrol UK mosques and vow to 'stand together' with Muslims after deadly shootings

Police say there is no intelligence of an increased risk to British Muslim communities

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Friday 15 March 2019 10:23 GMT
New Zealand police commissioner says 'one male in his late twenties has been charged with murder'

Police are patrolling UK mosques following a terror attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand.

The head of British counterterror police said his officers would “stand together” with Muslim communities and their counterparts in Christchurch.

“Today we will be stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves,” said Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu.

“We are standing together with our Muslim communities and all those shocked and horrified by this terrorist attack in New Zealand.”

Police also announced plans to patrol mosques in and around Birmingham, Manchester and other cities on Friday morning.

West Midlands Police assistant chief constable Matt Ward said there was no intelligence suggesting an increased threat in the area but added: “Officers will be engaging with key religious buildings today to reassure local people. We will continue to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.”

Assistant chief constable Russ Jackson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “We will be working hard to reassure them and communities of all faiths. We have nothing to suggest a threat locally but regardless of this we want to reassure people and so we will be increasing patrols in and around local mosques."

Authorities in France and other nations were stepping up security measures near religious sites following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, which left 49 people dead.

The gunman targeted Friday prayers in the terror attack, which he broadcast live on Facebook after publishing an online manifesto raging against immigrants, Muslims and supposed “white genocide”.

Mr Basu said British counterterror police were monitoring events in New Zealand closely.

He added: “Our international network of UK counter terrorism officers will be ready to support our counterparts in New Zealand in responding to and investigating this appalling attack.

“We stand together with all our communities and partners here in the UK and overseas, and will continue to work with them to counter the threat no matter where it comes from.

“Together with our intelligence partners we continually monitor the varied threats we face, including to and around places of worship and specific communities across the country, to ensure we have the most appropriate protective security measures in place to keep people safe."


In 2017, far-right extremist Darren Osborne ploughed a van into Muslims leaving Ramadan prayers in Finsbury Park, killing one man and injuring several others.

Security services have foiled 14 Islamist and four extreme right-wing terror plots since March 2017, and are running a record of more than 700 live investigations.

Official statistics published last week showed that 43 per cent of suspected terrorists arrested in the UK are white, compared to 32 per cent who are Asian.

And new research published overnight found that white British people are twice as likely to sympathise with extremism than those of Pakistani descent.

Police figures have indicated sharp rises in racially and religiously aggravated hate crime in the wake of the EU referendum and Isis-inspired terror attacks in the UK.

Iman Atta, director of the Islamophobia monitoring service Tell Mama, said anti-Muslim hatred is “becoming a global issue and a binding factor for extremist far-right groups and individuals”.

“It is a threat that needs to be taken seriously,” she added. “The New Zealand killer appears to have put out a 'manifesto' based on white supremacist rhetoric which includes references to anti-Islamic comments.

“He mentions 'mass immigration' and 'an assault on our civilisation' and makes repeated references to his 'white identity'.

Eye witness to New Zealand attack 'We could hear the ambulances but they couldn't get to us'

“We have said time and time again that far-right extremism is a growing problem.”

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were among British politicians sending condolences to New Zealand after what the prime minister called a “sickening act of violence”.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, tweeted he was “absolutely heartbroken” and added: “We stand with New Zealand and Muslims across the world against all forms of racism and anti-Muslim hatred. We will not let extremists divide us.”

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said he stood in solidarity with Muslims around the world, adding: “We must defeat the bigotry which fuels such hatred and violence.”

Baroness Warsi, a former faith minister, said violence started with the “demonisation and vilification of communities”.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in