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Belfast Vital 2017: Extra security measures in place in wake of terror attacks

Extra security measures will be in place this week as Belfast’s Vital festival kicks off at Boucher Road Playing Fields in the wake of recent terror attacks.

With 60,000 plus music fans expected to descend on the site this week to see Muse1 and Tiesto2 , those attending are being advised to adhere to the policies put in place by organisers who say they are mindful of recent terrorist incidents in UK and elsewhere. Rucksacks and large handbags are not permitted at the event and searches of bags will be carried out.

The PSNI3 canine unit will also be patrolling the area. Belfast Vital event controller Paul Scott has reassured the public that extra security measures will be in place in the wake of recent terror attacks.

He told Belfast Live: “We have been working with our friends at PSNI for the last number of months to ensure that persons who arrive for the gigs are safe.

“We are very mindful of what has happened both in Great Britain and elsewhere so there will be an enhanced security operation in place, there will be a fairly thorough check of persons coming in, the PSNI will be monitoring the roads coming in to ensure the safety of our patrons both inside and outside the venue.

VITAL event controller Paul Scott surveys preparation work from the stage ahead of this week’s major music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast.

“Don’t be bringing rucksacks or large handbags, certainly ladies are welcome to bring a small, reasonably sized handbag but don’t be arriving with suitcases or rucksacks as you will not be permitted into the venue sadly.”

PSNI Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley is urging those attending the gigs to stay safe and follow police and security staff guidance.

“We want to make this event as safe as possible for all concerned that is our main concern . We want people to come and enjoy the event but to be safe when they are doing so.

“We’ve put all the provisions in place that we can but ultimately it’s the responsibility of those attending, we have a mixed audience of those that are under 18 and those that are allowed in under 16 with the accompaniment of an adult who must be aged over 25 and ID will be required,” he said.

PSNI drugs sniffer dog Jaz will be on duty at the VITAL music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast this week.

He continued: “When you are coming to this event we would encourage you if you are doing to drink, please drink responsibly, obviously under 18s can’t drink and where anyone comes to the event with drink or substances that they shouldn’t ave we will obviously be addressing that and you do run the risk of not being permitted into the event.

“So please come, be responsible and enjoy the event, but overall please stay safe.”

Final preparations are underway for the VITAL music festival at the Boucher Road playing fields in Belfast this week.

Those attending the gigs are also being advised that no car parking will be available around the Boucher Road area and so using public transport is strongly recommended. Translink is providing special coach, bus and train services for both performances on Wednesday, August 23 and Saturday, August 26. Translink’s Gemma Thompson said: “Balmoral Train Station is situated close to Boucher Playing Gields and we will enhance services throughout the day to bring people to the site.

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“Coming home, late night rail services will run from Balmoral in both directions to Lisburn/Portadown and Belfast with onward connections to Carrickfergus, Bangor and Coleraine.

“These trains will operate following the concert from 10.45pm until 11.45pm subject to demand . Special return train tickets are still available to buy in the selected stations with prices from 5- 14.

“Special festival coaches will run from locations across Northern Ireland including Derry, Claudy, Dungiven, Maghera, Castledawson, Toomebridge, Newry, Banbridge, Strabane, Omagh, Ballygawley, Dungannon and Tamnamore .

Coach tickets are 17 and available to buy online only until 11am on the day of each concert.”

Pictured getting ready for the massive music gig are music fans l-r Elora Denny, Aine Kelly and Emma Lewis.

Gemma added: “There will also be an enhanced Metro (92) bus service travelling between Belfast City Centre4 (Donegall Square East) and Boucher Crescent on each concert day .

Passengers can pay on board the service, just 1.35 with a Smartlink car of 2 for a cash single fare .

Metro services to the event will be available every 12 minutes from 3.20pm-7.20pm outward and a return bus service will be available subject to demand.”

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References

  1. ^ Muse (www.belfastlive.co.uk)
  2. ^ Tiesto (www.belfastlive.co.uk)
  3. ^ The PSNI (www.belfastlive.co.uk)
  4. ^ Belfast City Centre (www.belfastlive.co.uk)

Security threat of unattended items in centre

Published: 17:00 Saturday 19 August 2017

Unattended items are to be removed from the city centre in the interest of safety and security. Peterborough City Council said the risk of a terrorist attack needed to be reduced following recent incidents in Manchester and London. And the authority countered suggestions rough sleepers may be adversely affected by the policy, stating that any impact is likely to be minimal as items will only be removed when they are considered abandoned. A council report states: The local authority continues to receive complaints and concerns from businesses and city centre residents relating to unattended items including sometimes hazardous waste.

Approval of this policy will allow for council officers to respond effectively to complaints from the public and businesses in the city. This will in turn improve fire safety, reduce security threats and improve the physical appearance of the city. The report adds: Unattended items may also pose a security risk which cannot be overlooked, particularly in light of the recent terrorist events in Manchester and London.

Whilst the police assessment of the risk of a terrorist incident occurring in Peterborough remains low, we nevertheless cannot be complacent and need to take all reasonable steps to reduce any risks. The council said it will speak to rough sleepers about the policy before it is implemented . Items which are considered abandoned will be removed by the council s waste management contractor Amey for collection and storage at its depot in Fengate. A note will be placed where the items have been taken to inform their owner and advise them where the items can be collected from .

They will then be stored for a month.

Trump, national security team head for Camp David

Many inside Trump’s administration watched the remarks with dismay . His top military brass — including the chiefs of five branches of the armed services — posted messages online that denounced racism and the hate groups that Trump initially declined to condemn . The messages didn’t mention Trump by name, but were nonetheless viewed as a rare rebuke of the commander-in-chief. Despite the internal strife, there have been no resignations from Trump’s aides or underlings . The White House said Thursday that Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economist who was enraged at having to stand alongside Trump as he delivered his remarks, would remain in his role.

Others inside the White House, including chief of staff John Kelly1, have also worked to push forward with the President’s agenda, despite near universal condemnation of the President, including from members of his own party.

Trump, who returned to his New Jersey golf club a day after his news conference, will fly Friday morning to the presidential retreat Camp David, nestled in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains 60 miles northwest of Washington. The White House said Trump would meet there with members of his national security team — including Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R . McMaster — to discuss strategy in South Asia.

The talks come after months of disagreement within the administration 2over the best path forward in Afghanistan and the border regions of Pakistan . Trump has resisted calls from military leaders to send additional US troops there, questioning the value of continued American presence after sixteen years of war.

But alternate options, including a full-scale withdrawal or a plan to send more private contractors to Afghanistan, have also been met with skepticism. Speaking Thursday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said a decision about Afghanistan was imminent.

“We will move this toward a decision,” Mattis said at a meeting with his Japanese counterpart held at the State Department. “We were coming very close to a decision, and I anticipate it in the very near future.” The Afghanistan debate has divided members of Trump’s team, leading to heated arguments during meetings in the White House Situation Room between McMaster and Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, a staunch nationalist who formerly worked as the chief executive of Breitbart. The dispute spilled into the open when right-wing news outlets began questioning McMaster’s loyalties; McMaster’s allies blamed Bannon for the attacks .

Kelly steered Trump toward issuing a public statement of support for McMaster, though the assault continued into the next week.

Complicating the twisted web of alliances and allegiances in Trump’s circle, Bannon was quoted in a liberal magazine this week contradicting Trump’s own claims about military action in North Korea 3— claims that members of Trump’s national security team spent days defending after the President vowed to rain “fire and fury4” on the country if its threats against the US continue.”There’s no military solution (to North Korea’s nuclear threats), forget it,” Bannon told The American Prospect5. “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”It wasn’t clear whether Bannon planned to attend Friday’s talks at Camp David . Originally a member of the National Security Council, Bannon was removed from the panel at McMaster’s urging 6in April.

Camp David, which Trump has visited once as President, offers a pristine setting for Friday’s discussions . It’s previously been the site of high-stakes national security sessions, including negotiations on Middle East peace under President Jimmy Carter and the annual Group of 8 summit (now the G-7) under President Barack Obama.

Trump has spent most of the past two weeks away from the West Wing, which is undergoing renovations .

He’s expected back in Washington on Sunday, though he is planning a western trip 7at the beginning of next week, including a campaign rally in Phoenix.

References

  1. ^ John Kelly (www.cnn.com)
  2. ^ months of disagreement within the administration (www.cnn.com)
  3. ^ contradicting Trump’s own claims about military action in North Korea (www.cnn.com)
  4. ^ fire and fury (www.cnn.com)
  5. ^ The American Prospect (prospect.org)
  6. ^ was removed from the panel at McMaster’s urging (www.cnn.com)
  7. ^ is planning a western trip (www.cnn.com)