A WILTSHIRE Police chief said he is 'profoundly saddened' by the devastating Manchester Arena attack, as he paid tribute to the unity shown across the country.

Chief Constable Mike Veale sent his heartfelt condolences to the parents and families who had lost loved ones in Monday night's terrorist attack.

He said: "You will all be aware of the devastating news of the shocking attack that took place in Manchester on Monday night.

"I don’t need to tell you what an atrocious incident this has been; a despicable terrorist attack resulting in the slaughter and injury of innocent people, including children.

"Driving home yesterday, after what was a long and challenging day, I was looking forward to arriving at our usually busy, happy home and expecting to give my 13 year old boy a cuddle. Instead, my family happened to be out of the house.

"Standing in the stark silence of the doorway to my son’s empty room my thoughts returned to the parents and families who have suffered such a devastating loss. To them I send my sincere, heartfelt sympathy. My thoughts, and the thoughts of all at Wiltshire Police, remain with you at this incredibly difficult time.

"Despite this horrific attack, we still work, reside and socialise in one of the safest countries in the world, where our values revolve around an enduring commitment to freedom, tolerance and respect.

"What happened in Manchester is the sort of event that the police service and our partners plan for, but hope they may never to have to deal with. I applaud the work of my colleagues in Greater Manchester Police and other emergency services as well as the incredible members of public who rushed to help, all of whom did so with little thought for their own safety.

"The incredible spirit of unity that has been shown in Manchester, across the country and across the world has been uplifting and inspirational. Those who opened their doors to strangers who needed shelter after the attack, the communities that came together to provide food and drink to victims and to emergency services have shown the good that prevails over these sickening acts of evil brutality.

"Sadly, we know tragedies such as this can act as a catalyst for acts of hate from people who are intent on dividing our communities. But I urge you, in light of all that has happened, bear in mind all of the good that prevails in our society.

"I am profoundly saddened by this attack and I do not underestimate the shock and grief that you may, very understandably, be feeling now.

"That said, today, tomorrow, and perhaps for some days to come there will be those in our communities that have been left shaken, scared and in need of comfort. As your police service, we have an important role to play as our communities look to us for answers and assurance.

"I have today met with senior leaders from across our emergency services and local authorities and agencies and we have collectively agreed our services we be measured, balanced, responsive and strong. We stand shoulder to shoulder as organisations charged with the responsibility of helping to keep you safe.

"While the Wiltshire Police flag flies at half-mast in front of Police Headquarters and we share in the collective grief felt across the country, we will continue in our duties, we will be visible and we will do all that we can to reassure our communities."