Workers trained as terror 'spotters' to prevent city attacks

MORE than 1,200 workers across the city have been trained as terrorist "spotters" by police fighting to prevent attacks in Edinburgh, it emerged today.

The latest 60 "recruits" attended an all-day event yesterday, learning how to spot and report suspicious activities in their neighbourhoods or workplaces.

The Project Griffin session was aimed at advising the public – along with representatives from businesses, universities and public sector bodies – to be on the alert against potential attackers who could cause devastation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Superintendent Mark Williams, from Lothian and Borders Police, said: "It's all about working together to mitigate against terrorism in the city.

"The people who are invited and attend these events have a critical role – they are the eyes and ears the police rely on."

Project Griffin – first developed by the City of London Police in 2004 and launched last year in the Capital – advises employees from a range of businesses about security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues.

More than 1,200 people have now attended events in Edinburgh, including those at yesterday's session at Our Dynamic Earth, which was also attended by army bomb disposal experts who demonstrated how suspicious packages are dealt with.

Also in attendance were members of the police force's Special Branch who spoke openly about the terrorism threat facing the city, but were keen to make clear it is no greater than anywhere else.

Detective Constable Andrew Cameron, a counter-terrorism security adviser, said: "You must keep an open mind when you look at people – do not see colour, instead see their behaviour. You know your own environment and if something does not feel right, let us know.

"Terrorists want to kill millions of people. We all saw the attack in Glasgow so we know they can happen here too – this is not just a London problem."

With more than 23,000 people living in Edinburgh city's centre alone, more than 15,000 socialising every night in the busiest areas and millions of people arriving every year for events, experts believe Edinburgh is at risk of a terrorist attack, as plotters seek busy, crowded places to make their mark.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Project Griffin organiser PC Kevin Smith, national security awareness co-ordinator, said: "If ever you are going to talk about crowded places, then here you go.

"But while the city is a target, it is not any more so than any other city.

"There is nothing to suggest terrorism is more of a threat here in Edinburgh, but there is certainly no room for complacency."