POLICE have pledged to step up patrols at places of worship across the Coventry and West Midlands region in response to the attack outside a London mosque.
The move has been confirmed by West Midlands assistant chief constable Sarah Boycott, as Coventry City Council leaders and the police commissioner called for unity against hatred.
She also said her thoughts were with the victims of the attack outside the Finsbury Park Mosque, north London. A man in a van drove into a crowd of worshippers who had left late-night prayers early on Monday morning.
She said yesterday: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by last night’s events.
“As people would expect, we’re continuing to review our already well-rehearsed plans and will take any steps necessary to keep our communities safe.
“Communities will see additional officers across the West Midlands and at places of worship in response to the latest attack. We will continue to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.”
The force added armed cops would remain on streets and 24/7 standby to protect the public against the threat of gun or knife crime.
The public is urged to contact police with any information, or anything suspicious, by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said: “The incident in Finsbury Park was an awful and cowardly attack during the holy month of Ramadan. My thoughts are with the victims of the attack and their families.
“It was an attack on all decent people in our country. It sought to divide us and sow the seeds of hatred. We will not let it succeed.
“I am working closely with the Chief Constable and West Midlands Police to reassure the public and ensure that people are protected.
“I would urge people to be vigilant, but to get on with their lives as normal.”
In a joint statement, Coventry City Council leader George Duggins, deputy leader Abdul Khan, and Conservative group leader Gary Ridley said: “We are flying the Union Flag at half mast and our thoughts are with all the innocent victims, their friends, families and loved ones who are once again attempting to make sense of such a mindless act of terror.
“Witnesses to the Finsbury Park attack have stated how the emergency services and residents acted quickly to help the casualties in the early hours of this morning. Coventry people are being asked to be vigilant as they continue to go about their everyday lives.
“In Coventry we are absolutely clear about the unity that exists between communities of all faiths and backgrounds. This is yet another incident that will again raise tensions but our collective response is to stand together.”
The council statement continues: “Communities in the city are being asked to remember that acts of terrorism are committed by a small minority of people and those people do not represent Coventry communities.”
It adds anyone in Coventry who feels vulnerable to, or experiences, a hate crime, they can call the police on 101. Anyone reporting an emergency should call 999.