NEWS

Businesses in Scotland Benefit from Counter Terrorism Training

By Matthew Harwood

Scotland is expanding a counterterrorism program developed by the City of London Police that provides businesses and the private guarding industry with counterterrorism training and intelligence, reports Glasgow's Sunday Herald.

Project Griffin and a business security co-ordinators' course, aimed respectively at security personnel and business managers, have provided around 800 workers from about 250 organisations with advice on dealing with bomb threats, suspicious packages and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.

Demand soared on the back of the terrorist attack at Glasgow airport in the summer and is expected to move up another gear in the countdown to the city's Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Businesses and their security personnel in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and in other locales will now have the ability to be Griffin-trained.

When the program was originally introduced in Glasgow in July 2006, there wasn't much enthusiasm for Project Griffin. Since the botched attack on Glasgow International Airport this past June, however, police have trained "people who didn't want to do it before," said Assistant Chief Constable John Neilson, head of community safety for Strathclyde Police.

One of the more novel benefits of  becoming Project Griffin graduates is that businesses and guarding companies have the privilege of listening in on the Friday "bridge" calls. These calls are given every Friday afternoon by the Special Branch, a division of London's Metropolitan Police Service responsible for national security matters, and are briefings to businesses and their security personnel of any pertinent intelligence.

Following the attack on Glasgow International, reports the Herald, an emergency bridge call allowed approximately 30 businesses to be updated on the security situation.

Inspector David BaMaung, head of community safety in Glasgow's city center, told the Herald that "Griffin training provided businesses with 'an element of confidence and an awareness of who to contact' in the event of a problem. 'The work we are doing helps to target harden' the city through partnership work with the business community.'"

For more on Project Griffin, look for January's cover story, "Fighting Terrorism in the U.K.," coming soon.

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