Ottawa police are stepping up security measures ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the capital following deadly terror attacks in Europe and other parts of the world in 2016.
Ottawa police Insp. Murray Knowles, from the emergency operations division, said there will be a high police presence throughout the city and large concrete jersey barriers are being used to block off key intersections.
“Some of our barricading downtown – in regards to road closures – has been adjusted to be a little bit more robust in response to the tactics that we have seen in terrorism that’s occurring in Europe,” Insp. Knowles told Global News.
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Knowles said the increased barriers will help deter deadly truck attacks similar to those that killed 86 in Nice, France in July and the attack on a Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 people earlier in December.
Police will also be conducting bag searches and personal searches for anyone attending the fireworks displays on Parliament Hill.
Knowles encourages revellers at New Year’s parties to enjoy themselves “responsibly” and always be aware of their surroundings.
“Always be vigilant, be aware, be alert,” he said. “Not necessarily alarmed but be alert to your surroundings. And if you see something that you think is suspicious, certainly flag an officer down so we can investigate it.”
WATCH: Toronto Christmas market increases security after Berlin attack
Meanwhile, Public Safety Canada said the federal government is closely monitoring for any potential threats against targets in Canadian cities.
“Our intelligence, security and police agencies continuously reassess their operations and review existing security measures in response to the global threat environment,” said a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in a statement. “We continue to work closely with our international partners to protect against security threats.”
Other police forces in Canada will also be monitoring New Year’s festivities closely.
“Our people are constantly checking for anything that might have any effect on the public safety of this city,” Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said in a statement. “We monitor our contingency plans and security arrangements around the clock and adjust them as necessary.”
READ MORE: Christmas markets close in Berlin, upgrade security across Europe after Berlin truck attack
Police agencies across Europe and the U.S. are also beefing up security. In New York, 65 heavy dump trucks loaded with sand are being deployed around the perimeter of Times Square and about 7,000 police will be on duty.
And in Cologne, Germany, police have increased the number of police officers and installed new CCTV cameras after hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed outside the central train station on New Year’s Eve in 2015.
Armed police will join about 3,000 officers on the streets of London as hundreds of thousands of people come to watch the official fireworks display by the river Thames.
*With files from Reuters
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