Security to be tightened at Christmas markets amid fears of Berlin-style attack
COUNTER TERROR Security will be bolstered at forthcoming Christmas markets around the UK as councils aim to prevent a repeat of the Berlin attack that left 12 dead and 56 injured last year. Concrete bollards, armed police and random bag searches are among the measures being considered by police and local councils. The Local Government Association is reported to have urged councils to adhere to government guidance on protecting crowded places from attack.
Some Christmas market organisers are working with police to provide anti-terror training to staff as part of Project Griffin, a counter-terrorism initiative aimed at businesses. Depending on the terror threat level currently severe (an attack is highly likely) at the time, armed officers could be stationed around markets perimeter. Councils are stressing, however, that an armed police presence does not necessarily mean that an attack is imminent. Demand for concrete bollards has surged in the last two years following a series of attacks including incidents in Nice, Berlin and London Bridge where terrorists have weaponised vehicles in order to inflict mass casualties. Physical barriers were installed on three of London s bridges in the wake of June s terror attack at London Bridge and Borough Market. A Southampton city council spokesman has confirmed that concrete bollards will be installed ahead of 11 November when the city s own Christmas market opens. However, temporary outdoor events like Christmas markets and street festivals also require temporary solutions and the market is responding. ATG Access, for instance, has launched a lightweight road block system that can be deployed quickly and withstand the force of a 2,500kg vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour. Avon Barrier Corporation, another UK firm, is even considering how to provide protection from gunfire.
Speaking to Arab News in August, Paul Jeffrey, the company s managing director, said: We are also looking at advertising boarding, so you incorporate some kind of ballistic protection within an advertising boarding so people run and hide. I am working on some very big projects that include that sort of thing. In London, the Metropolitan Police Service has said that additional safety measures around Christmas markets like Hyde Park s Winter Wonderland are likely. The public may see additional protective security measures and barriers at events this year, in response to a number of vehicle-based terrorist attacks we have sadly seen both here in the UK and abroad, said a force spokesman. There could also be increased security checks at some events and venues so we advise the public to arrive in plenty of time to allow for this. Guidance for mitigating security vulnerabilities around major public transport hubs, recently issued by the Department for Transport to local authorities, also incorporated recommendations about deterring attackers using vehicles as a weapon . German Christmas markets have proliferated in the UK in the last two decades and are regularly packed with people, day and night. Free Download: Securing the UK s borders. Getting national security and Brexit right first time is crucial , we do not want to get this wrong.
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