Wembley enhanced security operation

TELEGRAPH - An enhanced security force including heavily-armed police officers and tank-like armoured vehicles ensured that England's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania passed without disruption.

The "robust" security operation was put in place on the streets outside Wembley as London remained on high alert following last week's terror attack in Westminster.

It meant that hundreds of officers were supplemented by the presence of armed policemen and a series of bomb-proof "Guardian" vehicles.

A wreath was laid in memory of the four victims of the attack before the start of the match, while both sets of players wore black armbands in tribute to those who were killed and injured in Wednesday’s atrocity.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police had said before the game that the security threat level remained “severe”, while the FA encouraged fans to arrive as early as possible due to extensive security searches inside the stadium.
Police with sniffer dogs lined Wembley Way before kick-off, with numerous heavy-duty “Guardian” vehicles waiting on the streets around the stadium.

It came as the England flag outside the Bobby Moore entrance to the stadium flew at half-mast, while a minute’s silence was held before kick-off. There were similar silences across the country at League One and League Two fixtures this weekend.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was joined on the pitch by Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, FA chairman Greg Clarke and Craig Mackey, the acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to lay the wreath before the match. Mr Khan had earlier vowed to show the city “will never be cowed by terrorism”.
It was the second time in less than two years that Wembley has hosted an international match in the wake of a terrorist attack in Europe. There was a dramatically heightened police presence at the national stadium in November 2015 as England took on France just days after 130 people were killed in Paris. The security services were less obviously visible yesterday compared to that game in 2015, which came after the Stade de France was assaulted in the Paris attacks.

Sunday's black armbands were also worn in memory of Graham Taylor, whose wife Rita and daughters Karen and Joanne were at Wembley for the country’s first home match since the former England manager’s death in January.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2020

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