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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Police anti-terror squad launched
Det Supt Peter Minshall
Det Supt Peter Minshall will lead the new anti-terrorism unit
The UK's first police anti-terrorist squad outside London has been launched in Manchester.

A team of 20 officers and four staff will work at the unit at Greater Manchester Police's headquarters.

The team, to be led by Det Supt Peter Minshall, will head terror inquiries and develop contingency plans.

A spokeswoman for the force stressed however that there was no intelligence to suggest the area was a "specific terrorist target".

The unit's launch comes a day after suspected Al Qaeda terrorist Kamel Bourgass was jailed for 17 years for plotting to spread ricin and other poisons on the UK's streets.

Bourgass was earlier jailed for life for the murder in Manchester of Special Branch officer Det Con Stephen Oake.

Bourgass carried out the killing during a police raid in January 2003 in the Crumpsall area of the city.

At the launch, Mr Minshall stressed the unit was planned before the death of Stephen Oake.

He added: "It would be wrong to suggest that was the catalyst or reason for the unit."

Experienced team

Training will also be a part of the unit's remit, to help improve the response to terrorism incidents.

Det Supt Minshall said: "Counter terrorism investigation is an increasingly specialised area.

"By selecting a team of experienced detectives with a proven track record in major crime investigations, we aim to be at the forefront of any future developments in this field."

He said the force was determined to tackle the threat of terrorism "head on".


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