Close-Knit Communties Offer Best Defence Against Terror: Police Scotland

12 June 2017, 12:40 | Updated: 12 June 2017, 12:42

Police Scotland Counter Terror

Scotland's best defence against terrorism is "our close-knit communities'', police have said at the start of an awareness campaign.

Officers believe relationships between police and the public are vital to helping the "shared responsibility'' of security.

In the wake of attacks in Manchester and London, Counter Terrorism Awareness Week is focusing on safety and security in busy public spaces.

The activity is not in response to any specific threat but rather to keep people informed, officers said.

More than 200 police resources are to be used this week to brief businesses, take questions and offer reassurance to the public over counter-terrorism in Scotland.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said people have understandable concerns about terrorism after recent attacks but urged them to go about "business as usual''.

He said: "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. As part of the week, Police Scotland and their partners will be providing practical advice and taking forward a wide range of engagements to inform and reassure the public.

"These will include more visible police presence in cities across Scotland and awareness-raising events. I would encourage us all to engage in these opportunities.''

On Monday, senior officers and specialist counter-terrorism security advisers started the week with briefings at shopping centres in Aberdeen and East Kilbride.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson said: "The purpose of this week-long initiative is not to alarm the public but to provide them with all the necessary information they require to identify suspicious activity and, more importantly, to keep themselves safe and secure.

"The tragic events in Manchester and London have undoubtedly left our communities shaken and concerned and our activities taking place throughout Counter Terrorism Awareness Week are aimed at offering reassurance to the public by demonstrating the range of capabilities at our disposal to both deter, and respond to, terrorism-related incidents.

"As was the case during our Counter Terrorism Day of Action in November 2016, there is no specific intelligence suggesting an attack in Scotland, however keeping our communities informed is essential to ensure they can assist counter terrorism.

"I have said before that 'communities defeat terrorism' and Scotland's greatest defence against the terrorist threat is our close- knit communities and the relationship police and partners have with the public.

"We are demonstrating that Scotland is a hostile environment for those intent on causing harm and by continuing to work together we can ensure this remains the case.

"The events taking place this week are primarily focused on the country's cities; however, all of our communities should be mindful of countering terrorism. Further information on this subject can be obtained by visiting our website at''