Armed police to patrol during Edinburgh Festival

Police promoting a community action counter terrorism iniative in waverley market. Super Lesley Clark with officers Gerry McLaughlin and Stewart Masson of the safer communities prevention task force
Police promoting a community action counter terrorism iniative in waverley market. Super Lesley Clark with officers Gerry McLaughlin and Stewart Masson of the safer communities prevention task force
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ARMED police will patrol the Capital during the festival as security is stepped up in the wake of recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.

They will be deployed across the city centre and other busy areas during the summer.

Counter-terrorism officers took part in a charm offensive yesterday, speaking with members of the public and dishing out security advice.

During the “engagement day” at Waverley Mall, chiefs said the Edinburgh Division was well-versed in the “bread and butter” of policing during high-profile events with international appeal.

Supt Lesley Clark said police were working closely with organisers and managers to provide guidance to venues planning their own security arrangements ahead of the busy tourist season.

“What you will see at the moment, and in the build-up to the festival, is a variety of resources,” she said.

“Some of that will be very, very obvious to the public, including firearms. Some of that will be very conventional and what you would imagine, and some which I hope we never see.

“It is all part of the options working together to maximize the safety of the public

“There will be a range of options available to me to deploy and all of that will be done in a preventative and engaging fashion – that’s the aim of it.”

Officers who spoke to members of the public during the engagement event yesterday said people were not scared but keen to learn more about what can be done.

Safer Communities Prevention Taskforce PC Gerry McGowan, who was at Waverley Mall, said: “Because counter-terrorism is a force priority, we need to make the public aware of it. It’s so high-profile just now what with the events that have happened in Manchester and London.

“We are not trying to alarm the public but trying to make them alert – that’s the message we’re trying to get across.

“For example, when bags are left behind – in days gone by people might just have walked past and not thought about it, whereas now they are identifying them as a potentially suspicious package.

“Anything that goes against the norm, people are more aware of and are now more likely to contact the police.”

Eight people were killed in the London Bridge terror attack earlier this month, which came just weeks after 22 died in a suicide bomb attack in Manchester.

Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, which runs across Scotland until Sunday, is focusing on safety and security in crowded public spaces.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We must not allow terrorism to triumph, people should not be afraid to go about their daily business.

“Police Scotland rightfully reviewed security arrangements of major events following the recent incidents but security is a responsibility we all share and we need to continue to work together and benefit from our strong community links in keeping each other safe. Initiatives like Counter Terrorism Awareness Week are important, now more than ever.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk