Massive anti-terror operation as revellers pack Edinburgh

Police have asked members of the public to be vigilant. Picture: TSPL
Police have asked members of the public to be vigilant. Picture: TSPL
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ANTI-TERROR chiefs are urging festive revellers to be their eyes and ears to help thwart any risk of a terror attack in Edinburgh.

It comes as the Home Office warns the security threat to the UK remains “severe” – vowing to work with Scottish police to prevent nullify any potential threat.

In a statement last night, a Home Office spokesman said: “The attacks in the UK and elsewhere in Europe this year – and those which have been foiled by our police and security services – are a stark reminder of the threat we all face. The threat level for international terrorism in the United Kingdom remains at SEVERE, meaning an attack is highly likely.

“The UK and Scottish Governments work closely with the police and partners across the UK to continuously review and strengthen our protection and preparedness to deal effectively with security matters”.

“At the same time people should not be afraid to go about their daily lives, and should report any concerns about suspicious behaviour or activity to the police”.

The Scottish Government said it wants party-goers to be alert and report anything suspicious as the city gears up for festivities.

It comes as a well-drilled ring-of-steel is thrown up around the Capital – with armed police and sniffer dogs already deployed across the area.

“We would encourage people always to report any concerns they have about suspicious behaviour or activity to the police,” said a Scottish Government spokesman.

“We work closely with Police Scotland and partners across the UK to continuously review and strengthen our preparedness to deal effectively with security matters.”

Road, rail and air routes into the city will undergo extra scrutiny, while hospitals in and around the region have major incident plans already in place.

The world’s biggest Hogmanay party being beamed live across the globe “ticks all the boxes” for a terror attack, security to Police Scotland Neil Philip has warned. Earlier this week, police swooped on an alleged Islamist terror plot, arresting four men in Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Superintendent Mark 
Rennie said: “We will have an increased deployment of officers throughout the city centre as part of our festive policing campaign.”

“Edinburgh remains a safe place to live, work and visit but it is important that the public remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or concerns they may have so we can investigate and respond appropriately.”

Anti-vehicle barriers are already in place, and huge sheets of metal fencing will also be erected to minimise the risk of Marseille-style road attacks.

The public have already been told to expect bag searches and strict security checks.

In October, emergency services were put through a “live-play scenario” with a simulated vehicle attack at the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters at Gogarburn.

City culture chief Donald Wilson said: “Appropriate measures have of course been put in place to ensure security of our popular winter festival.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com