Bedfordshire Police have said they are increasing patrols around Bedford mosques following the terrorist attack in New Zealand.
The decision to increase patrols comes after forty nine people were killed and more than 20 others seriously injured after at least one terrorist carried out mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch while people gathered for worship.
Mr Boutcher said: “What happened in New Zealand was truly unimaginable, particularly in a country which is considered safe from such inhuman behaviour.
“Hatred and division because of difference leads to unthinkable consequences. When will people realise that our differences are our strengths?
“We have flown the force flag at half-mast this afternoon during afternoon prayers to express condolences for the victims and their families.
“As always our strength in the face of such evil is togetherness. We will continue to work with all of our communities and partners across Bedfordshire to tackle hatred and ensure our communities are protected.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in New Zealand.”
Places of worship are being reminded to utilise the free online training package ‘ACT Awareness eLearning’ which gives advice on Protective Security and how to react in an incident like this.
Anyone with concerns about someone becoming radicalised can get advice and support through the PREVENT programme at www.LTAI.info
Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin described the incidents as “horrific acts of violence” adding, “my thoughts are with the victims and their families and with the people of New Zealand as they try to come to terms with what has happened.”
A man in his late twenties has since been charged with murder for the attacks and will appear in court on Saturday.
Two other men and one woman were also detained nearby with police also recovering firearms and explosive devices.
One was later released, while officers investigate if the other two were involved.
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said: “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here.”