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Increased police presence at Pride Orlando event to 'provide reassurance' after attack

Mourners carry flowers to the funeral home gathering for Pulse nightclub shooting victim Javier Jorge-Reyes in Orlando, Florida. Picture by David Goldman, Associated Press
Jemma Crew and Rachael Burnett, Press Association

THERE will be an increased visible police presence at next weekend's Pride parade to reassure LGBT people in the wake of the Orlando shooting.

The Metropolitan police will have more officers visible at the parade and in Soho to "provide reassurance" and "show support" following lone gunman Omar Mateen's attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which left 49 people dead.

There was "no intelligence to suggest an increased threat" to the parade in the capital next Saturday, the Met police and Pride in London emphasised in a joint letter released on Friday.

"Whilst the tragic events in Orlando last weekend have caused huge shock and concern across the world, there is no intelligence to suggest an increased threat to the Pride parade in London," the letter read.

"The Met police and Pride in London recognise that people in the LGBT+ and wider community may have increased concerns at this time.

"Therefore, to help provide additional reassurance and to show support for the Pride event, the Met police will have an increased visible policing presence at the parade and in Soho."

The announcement follows a meeting at Heaven nightclub where Met police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe gave members of the LGBT business community advice to reduce people's vulnerability.

Sir Hogan-Howe said the threat level has not risen since the "shocking" attack but warned people to stay alert, adding: "The public should take reasonable caution."

"There will be more people, it is more likely people will come out to show solidarity, to show they are not scared and we would encourage that.

"We have looked at the intelligence and there is nothing to say that there is someone out there wanting to attack London or the Pride march."

Jeremy Joseph, owner of London gay clubs G-A-Y and Heaven, described the Orlando shooting as "my worst nightmare come true".

"We also have to think about the fear there is in London of something like this happening here - people do need reassuring," he said.

A record number of groups are registered to participate in the parade on June 25, including more than a hundred Met officers, according to the force.

The security situation will be "continuously monitored" and remains under review, the letter, signed by Met police commander Mak Chishty and Michael Salter-Church said.

Pride in London are to provide extra stewards on the day.

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