Managers of George Street bars and pubs given advice by police about what to do in a terrorist attack

Hospitality businesses in George Street are being supported to make use of outdoor areas by Edinburgh City Council this summer as Covid restrictions continue to ease.

By Jamie McKenzie
Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:55 am

Among the premises with outdoor seating are The Standing Order and Alexander Graham Bell pubs, owned by JD Wetherspoon. This week, police counter terrorism officers dropped in to provide some general advice as their establishments start to get busier.

It is understood such reassurance visits have been made by officers in the past.

A Wetherspoon spokesperson said: “Obviously, the safety of our staff and customers is paramount and we are more than happy to take on board the briefing by the police in Edinburgh.”

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The outdoor seating area outside the JD Wetherspoon Alexander Graham Bell pub in George Street. Pic: supplied

Police have provided posters which give advice to licenced premises on knowing what to do in the event of a terrorist attack including the most effective ways to barricade, avoid attackers and react to a situation. The poster also suggests that procedures to lock down a premises are practised once a month with all staff, as with fire drills.

The Wetherspoon spokesperson said the posters are displayed in their staff rooms and that similar leaflets from Network Rail are on show in their Booking Office bar in Waverley train station.

Staff at hospitality businesses in George Street were also informed about the Action Counters Terrorism app which provides up to date guidance and advice on dealing with a terror related incident.

The app can provide practical advice to protect businesses in sectors which attract crowds, as well as key steps to take in the event of such an incident. Incident response plans and checklists are detailed for various scenarios such as a bomb threat, suspicious vehicle or firearms or weapons attack. The app also enables users to report suspicious activity.

Fencing surrounding the outdoor seating area at the Alexander Graham Bell is to protect customers from cars using the street, particularly those parking nearby including motorists reversing out of or driving into spaces in the middle of the road.

Chief Superintendent Sean Scott said: “As we see people returning to our towns and cities as coronavirus restrictions ease, it is important that everyone feels safe as we move back towards a more normal way of life.

“Businesses, along with the public, play a key role in remaining vigilant and we carry out regular visits across the country to offer advice on the simple steps we can all take.

“Licensed premises are an important part of that security and we provide licensees with information on a range of measures they can take to keep their customers safe, how to spot unusual activity and how to report any concerns to us. Our visits to premises in Edinburgh this week are part of this wider effort to keep our communities safe."

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