Salford riots: Prince Harry praises 'fantastic response'

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Media captionPrince Harry met crews at Eccles Fire Station

Prince Harry has praised the "fantastic response" by Salford's emergency services during last week's riots on a visit to the city.

The prince spoke to police, fire crews and paramedics who were on duty at the time, as well as community groups.

He said: "As an army officer I really respect the work you guys do and I can't praise your bravery high enough."

On Wednesday, his father Prince Charles visited parts of London to see people affected by the riots.

Prince Harry told those he met on his visit: "You all did a fantastic job on the night and it's great to see Manchester and Salford back on its feet."

More than 300 fires were started as rioting involving hundreds of looters erupted across Salford and central Manchester last Tuesday.

At Salford fire station, as well as meeting firefighters, Prince Harry was greeted by community action team volunteers, young people from the Salford Prince's Trust team and fire cadets.

'Expressing dismay'

The 26-year-old took a day out from his training with the Army Air Corps at Wattisham Airfield, in Suffolk, to travel to Salford.

He was shown footage of the trouble, taken by cameras on fire engines.

Firefighter Max Murphy, 28, from Salford, said: "He was expressing some dismay really.

"He's seen footage from the CCTV cameras, missiles being launched at fire engines, bricks, rocks, anything they could get their hands on."

Mr Murphy added: "He was also expressing thanks for what we had all done."

Paul Argyle, assistant county fire officer for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, accompanied by firefighters Carl Jackson and Ray Sheil, gave the prince a private briefing on the trouble, while watching the CCTV.

Image caption The prince met police who responded to the riots

Mr Jackson said he told the prince: "Every time you turned around there was a fire somewhere else."

Mr Argyle said his officers were there only to protect and save lives, but Mr Sheil added: "They didn't distinguish between police and fire."

Prince Harry also visited Pendleton Police Station, on the edge of Salford precinct, to speak to officers injured in the trouble.

He heard how riot police had to retreat from rocks and bricks being thrown by rioters.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "It is a great honour for our officers to be recognised personally by a senior member of the Royal Family.

"I am particularly pleased it was Harry who chose to visit us as he also has first-hand experience of hostile situations and he could clearly relate to our officers on a personal level."

Prince Harry also visited Salford Ambulance Station, in Charles Street, where he met crews who responded to emergencies during the riots.

'Quite scary'

Specially-trained paramedics from the hazardous area response team were deployed in Manchester city centre during the riots.

Paramedic Duncan Mayoh, 33, from Bolton, said: "It was great to meet Prince Harry.

"We just spoke about what happened that night and how it was quite scary.

"But at the end of the day we are here to do a job, trying to save lives and the crew from Salford just got on with it."

The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust attended 27 riot-related incidents in Great Manchester - 12 were in Salford.

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