Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Armed Police dealing with a Serious Incident at Saltburn Pier

Armed police are at the scene of a serious incident on Saltburn seafront.

It has been confirmed that the area has been cordoned off after concern for the welfare of a woman in what may be a suicide bomb threat incident.

A female is to be seen sitting on the ground near to the Pier on Saltburn's lower promenade, just to the right of the Cliff Lift. Next to her is a bag, described as a rucksack.

Officers, armed with rifles, are sitting behind protective shields and have surrounded her.

The Army has confirmed that bomb disposal experts are in attendance, with a duty officer in attendance to assist police.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: "Police are dealing with an ongoing incident on the seafront at

A number of officers are currently at the scene and a cordon has been put in place to prevent public access to an area close to the sands and to ensure public safety.

Officers have concerns for a female's welfare, however, no further details can be issued at this stage."

"Saltburn Bank has been closed to traffic, therefore there may be congestion on Marske Road and on the road between Saltburn and Brotton."
It is understood the police helicopter is also in the area.

photo (c) Phil Barnes

The woman is now said to be sat on a bench with her hands on her head, with a bag around ten feet away from her.

The bomb disposal experts have yet to confirm the contents of the bag.

It is thought that the bomb disposal experts are using a robot to investigate the bag and that it will be taken on to the beach to be dealt with.

Some residents have said they believe the white female dressed in a hijab is local to the area and that she had visited a local hardware store earlier in the day to purchase several items.

A 40 year old woman was detained in connection with the incident at approximately 7.30pm.

Police, who were alerted at 11.00am this morning, were in negotiations with the woman for almost eight hours.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "Shortly after 11am today police received information that a woman in Saltburn may have suspicious items on her and became concerned for her welfare.

The woman was traced to the seafront and police began speaking to her.
Armed officers and trained negotiators were called to the scene as well as other emergency services."

Superintendent Ciaron Irvine said, "This was a fairly lengthy incident with a successful outcome."

It is not yet clear as to whether or not the bag contained any explosives.

Police confirmed today (14th March) that the woman has now been released into the care of her family and medical professionals after being assessed at Redcar police station. No further action will be taken.

Comment and photographs from local photographer, Ian Forsyth

Cuttings showing how the incident was represented in the national daily press.

Statement from Superintendant Irvine:
The stand-off involving a woman suspected of carrying explosives led to a major drama in Saltburn. Superintendent Ciaron Irvine, District Commander, Redcar and Cleveland explains the police’s approach to the incident.

This month saw a large scale police-led incident in Saltburn which naturally caused a great deal of interest from the local community and the media.

From the outset I would like to confirm that the woman involved in this matter was innocent of any wrongdoing and her detention under the Mental Health Act was a reflection of that.

While it is inappropriate for me to discuss personal matters of this nature in the public arena, we acknowledge that the events of the day must have been extremely stressful for her and we hope that with the support of her family and relevant professionals she will be able to move on positively. This will also take the wider support and understanding of the community in which she lives and I am sure that will be forthcoming.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain our actions on the day, why we acted as we did – and also to thank the community once again for their support and co-operation during the incident.

As you will know we were contacted by a member of the public shortly after 11am on Tuesday, March 13, reporting concerns about the demeanour of a woman in the local area.

Based on this call and other information available to us, it quickly became clear to police that she might have suspicious items in her possession.

Initially, the identity of the female was unknown and police commenced wide ranging inquiries to locate and identify her. I should stress here however that contrary to some media reports at the time, the woman concerned never herself intimated to police that she was in possession of explosive items.
Nor did she have suspicious items in her possession at the conclusion of the incident.

However police were receiving sufficient information from other sources to give us serious concern about what she might have in her possession and what her intentions might be.

When information is coming in piecemeal from various sources, it needs to be thoroughly checked and verified before action, if any, is taken.

You’ll appreciate that our main priority is always the safety of the public and that is at the heart of everything we do.

In addition to trying to establish the identity of the woman concerned, other background checks were being made at the same time so we could try to establish exactly what we were dealing with.

It is normal for the police to work alongside specialist colleagues from partner agencies in resolving incidents such as this one.

Given the information we had at the time, explosives experts as well as fire and ambulance service colleagues attended the scene – our joint priority still being to ensure the safety and welfare of the woman, of the wider community and of our officers.

Witnesses will also have seen negotiators who were brought in to engage and communicate with the woman while she was on the lower prom. Again this is usual practice.

Although the incident has been described as a “stand off”, there was a lot of activity taking place in the background and at the scene to bring the incident quickly to a safe and peaceful conclusion.

I would stand by my previous comment that given the information we had available to us at the time and what could potentially have happened we believe the incident was policed proportionately and effectively.

The main aim of securing a safe and peaceful outcome was achieved.

We are aware of a lot of speculation and discussion on this incident; however I reiterate that the woman concerned was innocent of any wrongdoing.

While I appreciate there was a degree of disruption in and around Saltburn that day, I would urge the community to allow the woman concerned to get on with her life and put all this behind her too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope she's alright, must have been scary all those cops / helicopters / army etc.