West Midlands Police have confirmed that the "credible and specific" threat which led to the evacuation of 20,000 people from Birmingham city centre on Saturday night has been removed.
But officers said the investigation into the intelligence received which prompted the mass evacuation was still ongoing. At a press conference, Chief Superintendent Peter Goodman, the force?s Birmingham city centre commander, said two suspect packages that had been found in the city centre had only reinforced concerns about safety.
?The threat was to all the entertainment areas in the city centre,? he said. ?I am satisfied, with the Chief Con-stable, that that threat has now been removed. We have dealt effectively with that threat.?
He said he understood people?s ?frustration? at not knowing the exact nature of the intelligence the force had received, but added: ?It is impossible for me to give you further information on this. I can assure you the investigation into the threat is ongoing.?
Chief Supt Goodman revealed a box with protruding wires and a switch found in a room at the Premier Travel Inn, which led to the complete evacuation of Broad Street, had been a theatrical pyrotechnical device.
He added a man had been interviewed about the device but police were satisfied he was licensed to possess it and had released him without charge. The police again refused to reveal the exact nature of the initial threat received on Saturday night.
Chief Supt Goodman repeatedly refused to answer questions which dealt with ?operational? matters, including whether the intelligence was received by West Midlands Police or came from an outside agency.
?These circumstances were exceptional. We are satisfied that action that we took together with our partners and the public removed that specific threat and that it was a proportioned response.
?Any decision to carry out an evacuation is not under-taken lightly and is only done after a careful analysis of credible information with the priority of public safety in mind. We understand the impact that this has had on the public and the business communities but would reiterate there was a real threat to the lives of people in the city centre.?
The operation, which was a ? developing situation ? throughout Saturday night, involved 200 regular police officers, 50 special constables, and a number of community support officers, he said.
Chief Supt Goodman said Broad Street was completely cleared of people in 50 minutes. ?The support we had from the public was magnificent. Indeed, we have received a number of calls of support from the public.?
Birmingham city council leader Coun Mike Whitby praised the spirit among the people who were evacuated.
He said the confidence instilled between the different agencies was shown by the 25,000 people who went to Canon Hill Park on Sunday for the 60th anniversary commemorations of the end of the Second World War.
?Our emergency plan coped with the threat,? he said.