A simulated terror incident at intu Trafford Centre on Monday drew criticism after one of the actors playing a suicide bomber was heard shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as the exercise began.
Greater Manchester Police have since issued a statement apologising for the offence caused by the exercise, which began at midnight on 9 May.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “On reflection we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use this religious phrase immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam.
“We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused.”
An earlier statement had been issued stressing that the simulation at the shopping centre, the second largest in the UK, was not linked to any specific threat.
However, the apology also stated that the Police had used specific details to imitate an attack from a ‘Daesh style organisation’, an alternate name for the group Islamic State.
Police drew criticism for their use of such details, with questions being raised on social media, including from Dr Erinma Bell, who earned an MBE for her anti-gun campaign in Manchester.
She tweeted: “Good question. We need to move away from stereotypes if we want to achieve Real learning. A terrorist can be any one.”
Pictures and video were released from the exercise showing the ‘bomber’ shouting as they enter the Trafford Centre’s food court, as well volunteers running away and covered in fake bullet wounds.