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Published by philchamberlain
Feature by Phil Chamberlain in the Big Issue in the North magazine on the counter terrorism Project Griffin and Prevent programme
Feature by Phil Chamberlain in the Big Issue in the North magazine on the counter terrorism Project Griffin and Prevent programme

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Published by: philchamberlain on Jul 14, 2010
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07/14/2010

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Page 16

On guard
Private security guards and public sector workers are trained in counter-terrorism methods by the police as part of Project Griffin. Phil Chamberlain sat in on one of the sessions and heard what they have to say

The soundless montage on the video was familiar but still shocking. Planes crashing into the Twin Towers. The aftermath of the Bali nightclub bombings. Eerie mobile phone footage of the 7/7 London bombings. Finally, that burning car wedged in the entrance to Glasgow Airport. Over this, on a loop, a woman sang in a breathy Irish accent: “I will find you if it takes a thousand years.” It seemed incongruous to be watching this while sitting in an anonymous office building at East Midlands Airport on a wet Thursday morning with staff from local businesses. For the police officers running the Project Griffin training course, though, it was all about making the link between terrorism abroad and attacks at home. Hundreds of private security guards and public sector workers across the north have been trained over the last few years to act as the police’s eyes and ears in combating terrorism. The major threat in the UK remains an al-Qaeda attack on a shopping centre, tourist landmark or other soft but high profile target. Since the first line of security at those venues is private security guards, Project Griffin aims to brief these personnel on what to look out for. The idea is that they, as well as local authority staff, can both act as intelligence gatherers and, should an incident occur, aid the emergency services in securing areas. Project Griffin was developed by City of London Police in 2004. The template has been taken up by around 20 forces across the country, as well as branches protecting airports. Back at East Midlands Airport, and Leicester’s Police Counter Terrorism Security Advisor (CTSA) Det Con Ray Towersey was making it clear to people that they were on the frontline.

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THE BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH · 5-11 JULY 2010

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