Like everyone in the country I am lost for words after the events in Manchester on Monday night. It is a depraved act of violence against families, young people and children.
We can all identify with victims and their families. Manchester is my home city and I have visited the arena many times with my own family. As details of the victims emerge it will be unbearable.
In this moment of great sadness and anger we also see the best of humanity. The response of Greater Manchester Police colleagues and other emergency services has been outstanding. I have offered the GMP chief constable any support he needs from us in the next few days, weeks and months ahead.
They have made us proud.
As part of the national counter-terrorism network we are active in supporting the operation.
On Tuesday the threat level moved to critical, the first time in ten years. At this point I want to reiterate our mission: Preventing crime, protecting the public and helping those in need.
We are facing a sustained and determined threat. Our first duty is to protect the public against another attack. Operation Temperer has been activated. We have deployed uniformed armed and unarmed officers. These duties are intended to reassure but principally to protect the public from a further attack that remains a realistic prospect.
Temperer will not, however, see the deployment of the military in the West Midlands. It will instead free armed officers to join us from other forces.
This protection will also extend to vulnerable locations and events. We are re-assessing these.
I am not clear how long we will remain at this level but we need to sustain our activity.
After such a big attack we need to ensure we are alert and prepared for one here. Extra work is underway to ensure we are even more prepared than normal.
Our ability to connect also applies to our communities. Firstly, we know communities are our eyes and ears and are vital to ensure suspicious activity or concerns are raised. With emotions running high, many communities feel very vulnerable.
We are carefully monitoring hate crime but those who need our friendship and reassurance will get it. We have specifically engaged with local authorities and schools because of their young people who may feel particularly vulnerable.
Finally, business as usual continues. We are excellent at rising to the challenge of the big job and people are drawn to this. It is just as vital and important to be making sure we are keeping our service on the road. That is going to be demanding and will require flexibility. It is just as important.
I am conscious this is a huge challenge for us all. I am very grateful for the outstanding work by all staff in the force. Once again your professionalism shines through.