Security guards to be trained in how to deal with terrorist incidents
SECURITY staff at shops in Glasgow city centre are to be trained on how to deal with potential terrorist attacks.
Strathclyde Police will offer the specialist awareness and training days, the first kind in Scotland, to give workers the skills needed when faced with emergencies.
Named Project Griffin, it is based on a system introduced by City of London Police, where more than 2,000 security guards have attended the scheme. It has since been rolled out across England and Wales.
The programme was developed following the 11 September, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York.
Initially, about 40 security guards will be trained in how to react to issues such as bomb threats and suspect packages and learn how to spot suspicious activity and help police organise evacuations.
Project Griffin was brought to Glasgow by Inspector David BaMaung, who said: "Project Griffin is not only a powerful counter-terrorist tool, it can also be used to deal with all aspects of major disruption to businesses, ranging from gas explosions to demonstrations and serious disorder.
"Such a facility will prove invaluable where businesses are seeking guidance and information from the police on how to deal with certain situations."
John Neilson, the force's Assistant Chief Constable in charge of community safety, said that the increasing number of high-profile events and large public buildings in Glasgow meant that greater thought had to be given to the issue of safety.
"The aim and objective of Project Griffin is to promote and maintain community safety," he said.
"With the potential of the first regional casino and the 2014 Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow, the introduction of such an initiative demonstrates the police and local businesses commitment to developing an attractive, secure and aware community."
Security guards who complete the course will be awarded certificates and issued with Griffin endorsed fluorescent vests for use in times of emergency.
Project Griffin will also include an extended conference call service, launched today, which will provide member organisations with weekly access to certain police intelligence and information.
Updates will be provided in relation to issues that may affect business, such as terrorist threats, disorder, crime trends, forthcoming demonstrations and any other relevant issues.
The system was used by police following the 7 July terror attacks in London last year to keep businesses informed about the situation and any potential threats to them.
However, Chief Superintendent David Christie insisted that the introduction of the scheme was not indicative of rising threat levels. "This project has been in the pipeline for some time and has not been implemented as a result of any increase in the terrorist threat," he said.
"The training and awareness day is designed to enhance the preparedness of the participating organisations via their security personnel for major incidents, including certain terrorist- related threats."
Susan Nicol, general manager of the St Enoch Centre, said that the effects of Griffin in London had been very persuasive.
She added: "The security of both our customers and our staff is of paramount importance to us and it is essential that we do everything we can to raise awareness of any potential safety threats.
"Its effectiveness has already been demonstrated in London and we look forward to working alongside the Project Griffin team and our colleagues in the business sector as the initiative is rolled out in Scotland.
"Project Griffin is an excellent initiative, which will see the public and private sector working together closely to deliver real benefit to business."
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