The recent tragic incident at the Manchester Arena yet again brought counter terrorism into the thoughts of everyone in our community, writes Chief Inspector Kenny Simpson.
Since August 2014, the UK threat level remained at severe. However, following the bombing in Manchester this was raised to critical, the highest threat level possible, prior to returning to severe several days later. Scotland has not been immune to this global threat, as evident by the attack at Glasgow International Airport in June 2007. At this time, there is nothing to suggest a specific threat to Scotland. I would ask that our communities remain alert, but not alarmed.
As part of Police Scotland’s commitment to keeping people safe there have been a number of exercises conducted throughout the country recently to test our, and our partners, response to terrorist attacks. Extensive planning has been in place for several years and these exercises have been on an unprecedented scale, involving large numbers of volunteers. Some of you may remember such an exercise at Dalkeith Police Station back in January 2016, and it is exercises such as these that allow us to respond effectively should such an incident occur.
The role of the community in helping identify any suspicious behaviour is essential and, as in all areas of policing, we are more effective with the help of the general public. As such, I would ask if you are aware of any unusual or worrying behaviour to report it to the police either via 101, the Police Scotland website or the dedicated Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321. This will allow it to be thoroughly assessed and acted upon, if appropriate.
In addition, I would ask if you are victim of or witness to any incidents of hate crime that you get in touch. Police Scotland is committed to working with all members of our communities and safeguarding the right of people to live without fear because of who they are.
The actions of a minority will not be tolerated and should not sully the good reputation of the Scottish people and Scotland as a safe and secure country. These can be reported via 101, via the Police Scotland website or via a number of Third Party reporting sites – details of which can also be found on our website.