Concern voiced over terror response
SAFETY on the West Coast’s ferries and in rural areas will be discussed at a government level, after a senior police officer voiced fears over the force’s ability to deal with terror attacks.
The Oban Times raised the matter with islands and transport minister Humza Yousaf when he visited Mull this week.
As Counter Terrorism Awareness Week was launched across Scotland, Mr Yousaf said he was concerned to hear that staff working on transport systems and in rural police offices were being put in the firing line.
Many staff members and police officers who have approached The
Oban Times feel they have nothing to use against terrorists if the unthinkable were to happen.
Island and rural communities are considered ‘soft targets’ by terrorists, but as one senior Argyll police officer explained off the record: ‘We have none of the resources required to meet the threat of a terror attack.
‘Police armed units are at least an hour away by helicopter and three hours by road.
‘All we have here is a vehicle to drive at people. That leaves us in a vulnerable position and leaves staff ill-equipped to cope with a response in the firing line.’
It is understood that until now the majority of firearms staff are based in the two major cities in Scotland.
North Argyll has a number of strategic facilities and events that have been identified as soft targets for terrorists. Ferry terminals, strategic routes, events such as Oban Live and Oban Airport are all relatively lightly protected.
Concerns have been raised by staff across the area that there is little or no security to check people, bags and vehicles before accessing ferries, buses or trains.