Fight­ing ter­ror

Work­ers re­ceive ad­vice dur­ing aware­ness week

Rutherglen Reformer - - Gossip Girl -

Shop­ping cen­tre work­ers were talked through a bomb scare sce­nario in East Kil­bride to help com­bat the in­creased threat of ter­ror­ism.

As part of Counter Ter­ror­ism Aware­ness Week, com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives – in­clud­ing the News, NHS La­nark­shire staff, re­tail and coun­cil work­ers – were in­vited to take part in ‘Pro­ject Grif­fin’ at the Odeon Cin­ema on Mon­day.

The week of ac­tion pro­mot­ing coun­tert­er­ror­ism ac­tiv­ity across the coun­try aims to school peo­ple on how to act in the event of an at­tack.

And fol­low­ing the re­cent tragic events in Manch­ester and Lon­don, Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Roddy Irvine, di­vi­sional com­man­der for La­nark­shire, said this year’s event had a “sharper fo­cus”.

Re­veal­ing how the threat level is cal­cu­lated, he told a packed the­atre that in 2015 there were 11,774 acts of ter­ror­ism in 92 coun­tries, and stressed that the only way to com­bat this crime was to work to­gether.

As­sur­ing au­di­ence mem­bers that there was no spe­cific threat to Scot­land, Chief Supt Irvine said: “Un­for­tu­nately with the tragic events that have hap­pened re­cently, an event like this is even more im­por­tant.

“How­ever, it is im­por­tant to stress that the ter­ror­ist threat level for the UK has been at se­vere for quite some time now – mean­ing that an at­tack is highly likely.”

But Po­lice Scot­land’s key mes­sage to the pub­lic was to ‘be alert, not alarmed’ as they en­cour­aged peo­ple to be vig­i­lant and re­port sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour.

Af­ter­wards, East Kil­bride Chief In­spec­tor Geral­dine McSherry said there were a num­ber of im­por­tant mes­sages to take from the event on how to coun­ter­act ter­ror­ism and deal with it at a lo­cal level.

She said: “What we need is for peo­ple to be aware that if they come across a sus­pi­cious pack­age or sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour, what they do at that ini­tial time is re­ally im­por­tant go­ing for­ward to iden­tify th­ese peo­ple who are caus­ing harm within our com­mu­ni­ties.

“If there are any busi­nesses out there who are need­ing that in­put, they can get in touch and we’ll come out and give them fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

“We do a lot of work with the shop­ping cen­tre through com­mu­nity of­fi­cers who work within the cen­tre full-time so there are re­ally good links into the cen­tre.”

She added: “It’s im­por­tant that our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in­ter­act as well. This event was aimed at the re­tail side and busi­nesses and of­fices that have crowded places.

“What’s im­por­tant is that the re­tail­ers are on board, but it’s equally im­por­tant that if peo­ple see any­thing sus­pi­cious in their com­mu­nity – maybe peo­ple have moved in next to them or ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the night that they feel is not right – then please phone us.

“Un­for­tu­nately, th­ese ter­ror­ists are liv­ing within our com­mu­ni­ties. When we look at Manch­ester and Lon­don, it was ob­vi­ous that the peo­ple in­volved in that were liv­ing within lo­cal com­mu­ni­tites. So it’s very im­por­tant that peo­ple stay vig­i­lant and re­port any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity via 999, 101 or Crimestop­pers.

“The last thing we want is mass panic or peo­ple to feel fright­ened in our lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Peo­ple in the UK are re­silient. We’ve seen that in Lon­don and Manch­ester that peo­ple are stand­ing strong.

“If we refuse to go out and go to crowded places and come to the pic­tures with our chil­dren then they are win­ning, th­ese ter­ror­ists are get­ting what they want.”

Stay­ing alertEast Kil­bride Chief In­spec­tor Geral­dine McSherry, fore­ground, at the sem­i­nar dur­ing Counter Ter­ror­ism Aware­ness Week

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