TOP-LEVEL security can be maintained at Farnborough Airfield following the September 11 outrages thanks to new government funding.

Hampshire Constabulary is one of three forces, outside London, to receive a share of £800,000 in funding to enhance the region's defences against terrorism.

A significant proportion will go towards maintaining the increased police presence at airports throughout the county, including Farnborough's business airport, following last year's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Assistant Chief Constable Colin Smith welcomed the decision: "This announcement is good news, and we're grateful for the funding.

"We have to remember that the horrors of September 11 started with airlines and an issue of airport security. We have an expanding airport at Eastleigh, Farnborough airport is growing and there are a number of small airports in our area.

"Since September we have maintained a higher profile by Special Branch officers and uniformed officers to give public reassurance. This funding will allow us to continue this presence without detracting from community policing."

And with the International Airshow just around the corner, Hampshire Police were keen to reassure the public about safety at the event.

Chief Inspector Neil Sherington, of Aldershot police, has been liaising with Airshow organisers SBAC.

He said: "Farnborough Airfield, as with any other airport or seaport, is a means of people entering the country.

"It is not unusual to have police officers at these ports but these funds will ensure they can now work for longer.

"There are no particular concerns around Farnborough Airfield. Security (for the airshow) has been designed around prevention and protection from any criminal activity which should ensure a safe and secure event."

The government money forms part of a larger package of funds made available to counter terrorism since the September 11 attacks and as part of wider efforts to combat street crime.

Home Office minister John Denham announced this week that the force had successfully bid for its share of £800,000 in an effort to step up security in the county.

He said: "This funding is excellent news for police in the south-east tackling the problem of street crime and antisocial behaviour together with those working on counter-terrorism and security measures."

Airport authorities provide large sums of money for security at most of the major airports like Gatwick.

In the case of smaller airports like Farnborough where the threat was not previously considered so great, the cost of security falls to the police.

Mr Denham said: "The money for counter-terrorism will help provide extra resources for police activity alongside increased technical and operational support."