Major armed police operation after reports of a gun
Police launched a major operation yesterday evening in response to reports of a young man carrying a weapon.
Armed response police officer blocked off the entrances and exits to housing estates in the area of Varyl Begg as officers conducted an investigation and searched for the suspect.
Police did not confirm any details of the operation but the Chronicle understands they were looking for a youth believed to have been carrying a BB gun.
As this edition went to press, police confirmed that a man had been arrested and was in police custody.
The investigation remained open but police were not looking for anyone else.
The armed Royal Gibraltar Police officers were supported by officers of the Gibraltar Defence Police and police dogs were also deployed.
During the incident police circulated a description of the suspect, described as a male aged 18 or 19, of slim build and pale complexion with medium to long ginger blonde hair.
The public were also warned not to approach him.
The incident sparked widespread concern amongst local residents, many of whom took to social media to ask if it was safe to go out.
The operation unfolded against the wider context of the EU-wide threat of terrorism.
There is no suggestion that yesterday’s incident was linked to terrorism but Gibraltar, like other European countries, is on a heightened state of alert.
That means the police response to incidents of this nature is robust.
Yesterday’s operation came just a week after a similar incident which led to the arrest of four youths who had allegedly waved a BB gun while driving around in a car.
That prompted the RGP to issue a warning that such actions in the current security climate were reckless and could spark a major incident.
Yesterday’s incident unfolded just hours after the Gibraltar Contingency Council met in order to review a range of civil and security contingency matters.
The GCC confirmed that there was no change to the current ‘Substantial’ threat level, meaning there remains a strong possibility of a terrorist attack.
The GCC stressed however that there is no intelligence suggesting any specific threat to Gibraltar.
The need for heightened security across the EU was underscored by events in Paris yesterday afternoon, where a man was shot outside the Louvre after he brandished a machete.