Armed police in anti-terror drill at Glasgow’s Intu Braehead

Armed police officers at Intu Braehead, outside Glasgow. Picture: PA
Armed police officers at Intu Braehead, outside Glasgow. Picture: PA
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Armed police officers have taken part in a training exercise at a shopping centre to test Scotland’s preparedness for a terror attack.

The multi-agency action – held throughout Tuesday evening at Intu Braehead – had been planned since early last year, Police Scotland said.

The training exercise was designed to test the response of the emergency services to a major attack by gunmen.

But Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said the exercise was not in response to a specific threat or the Paris terror attacks. He said: “The emergency services and partners plan extensively for a wide number of challenging situations from naturalevents caused by the weather to significant industrial accidents or criminal acts.

“This exercise has been in the planning for a year and specifically focuses on a major firearms incident and will test how our specially-trained armed officers respond alongside other emergency services at a crowded place, which for the purposes of this scenario, is a major shopping venue.

“I must reiterate that this exercise is not in response to events in Paris or any threat to any specific location.”

He said training exercises allowed authorities to ensure the response to a genuine incident was current and ran as “efficiently and effectively as possible”.

“This proactive approach to preparedness helps to protect Scotland’s status as a safe and secure country,” he added.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley added: “It’s part on an on­going UK-wide set of arrangements to test and make sure our ability to work with the military and special forces is absolutely where it needs to be.

“What you saw last night was a very carefully planned exercise that tested our capability and our ability to interface with the military in extremis.

“A national police force has that capacity and those sort of numbers to deal with that threat in the way a small force just couldn’t do.

“Every time we see a new manifestation of the terror threat we need to reflect on our tactics and make sure we’re adapting to the new threats as they emerge.”

Gary Turnbull, general manager for the shopping centre, said: “The emergency services do an extremely important job keeping the public safe.

“This training, planning and preparation to deal with all eventualities is essential and we had no hesitation allowing them to use our facilities for their exercise while the centre was closed.”