Cities, towns and communities around the world felt the impact of the Paris terror attacks last month.
The sudden, sickening acts of mass murder had the knock on effect of leading people living and working in the Falkirk area to think: “If it can happen there it can happen anywhere, maybe even here.”
Now town centre management team Falkirk Delivers has stepped up to organise an awareness session about Project Griffin, an initiative which seeks to protect communities against terrorism and crime.
The event, which takes place from 2pm on Tuesday, December 15 at Falkirk Trinity Church, aims to help business owners and their staff recognise, respond to and report suspicious activity and behaviour, working alongside Police Scotland to deter, detect and counter terrorist activity and crime.
Organiser Sarah McKenzie, Falkirk Delivers assistant manager, said: “We actually organised this before the Paris terror attacks and were going to hold it in February next year. Traders had identified the threat of terrorism as something we should be looking at and wanted a briefing on counter terrorism.
“In light of what happened in France we decided to bring the session forward to this month.”
The seminar, which features videos of various scenarios, will hopefully raise awareness of current terrorist and crime issues, show ways to share and gather intelligence and information, help build and maintain effective working relationships and seek solutions to defeating terrorism and crime.
Sarah said: “This comes under the banner of It’s Friendlier in Falkirk and it’s just about making people aware that we could be under threat and how best to deal with it. Project Griffin is not just about a potential terrorist attack, it could be any serious incident which happens in Falkirk and how we deal with it.”
The session will be delivered by Police Scotland counter terrorism security adviser John Lindsay, who Sarah has worked with before on Project Argus, dealing with the town’s night time trading safety.
“This is hopefully one of many awareness raising events we will be rolling out,” said Sarah. “They will have different themes, like cyber crime for instance. Operation Fairway, which takes place in January, looks at security checks when recruiting staff members.”
The local authority already has a number of measures and procedures in place to deal with many of the eventualities which will be discussed at the Project Griffin briefing.
A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “We have worked with industry and the emergency services locally for many years to plan for disruptive incidents and exercise at least twice a year to test our response plans.
“We are part of a local, regional and national partnership that can come together should there be significant community safety issues to deal with. This ensures our communities have the most robust arrangements in place.
“Falkirk Council has its own additional plans in place to continue to provide services should they be disrupted.”
Call Sarah on (01324) 611293 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to reserve a place on the Project Griffin seminar.
Ineos has measures in place to protect Grangemouth
When you think of viable targets in the Falkirk area which could fall victim to terrorist attacks three spring to mind: The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and Ineos.
Perhaps the most potentially dangerous target, the petrochemical complex in Grangemouth is also the one with the most stringent security measures in place to protect it.
Not that the firm was forthcoming with any specifics when The Falkirk Herald contacted them this week and this comes at a time Ineos has reportedly been told by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to improve safety measures at its Grangemouth petrochemical complex.
An Ineos spokesman said: “The safety and security of each of our sites around the world is our highest priority. Our sites vary considerably in terms of their size, composition and location and so the security arrangements are specifically developed to take these into account.
“At Grangemouth we work closely with local and national authorities and emergency and security services in shaping, testing and monitoring our security arrangements and procedures.
“These are reviewed and tested regularly.”
Obviously Police Scotland is one of the organisations Ineos must work closely with when dealing with security matters and the force also has the responsibility to look out for other potential targets.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “Police Scotland is active across the country dealing with the threat. We have visible patrols in our communities to maximise safety and minimise the risks that face us and we are also active in areas that are not always visible.
“We take a firm stance on dealing with all allegations of hate crime including those motivated by racial and religious intolerance. The increased police activity in responding to international terrorism is matched by the increased efforts of Police Scotland officers dealing with hate crime.”