HEAVY duty security barriers will be used to protect the public from possible terror attacks in York this Christmas.

City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police have advised the public to expect to see "additional protective security measures" at events over the festive season, but called on people to attend and take part as normal.

Superintendent Dave Hannan said some of the measures being used to protect the public would be "more visible than others, but the public shouldn't be alarmed".

He said: "This is precautionary and we would encourage the public to continue with their plans as normal."

The council would not confirm which events or areas would see extra protection in place, but said the public will see "the installation of traffic slowing measures".

The Press understands the new barriers will be in place this week, and some are expected to be installed at the foot of Parliament Street, to protect visitors to the upcoming Christmas Market.

A council spokeswoman said: "While traffic to the city centre is already limited at busy times, the addition of chicanes which are being installed this week will help keep pedestrians even safer.

"There could also be increased security checks at some events and venues so we advise the public to arrive in plenty of time to allow for this. The current threat level across the UK from international terrorism remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely and we reiterate our long-standing advice to remain vigilant and alert."

A police spokeswoman said the precautions were the work of the force and partner agencies, "to make it the safest Christmas that we can against a range of threats and risks, not just the risk of terror attack".

Cllr Ian Gillies said the chances of becoming involved in a terror attack might not be high, but the new measures would be used both as a deterrent and reassurance.

Cllr Gillies said: "Terror attacks in the UK, while very rare, understandably create a lot of concern.

"It's better to be safe than sorry. We have to take necessary precautions in the world in which we live. I would rather they were put in and nothing happened than not be put in and something happen."

Supt Hannan said the measures would also cover a range of events across North Yorkshire over Christmas - though he could not specify the exact locations or types of extra precautions taken for operational reasons - and the force was taking "appropriate steps to protect our communities".

Supt Hannan said: "The public should be reassured that our security measures are under constant review to make sure the people who live, visit and work here are safe and secure.

"We advise the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity. In an emergency always call 999. If you get caught up in the rare event of a weapons or firearms attack, we urge you to follow our Run Hide Tell advice."

Anything suspicious can be reported to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789321.