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Senior Police Officers Under Major Terrorist Threat

Aug 1, 2010
Warnings that senior British police officers are under major threat from terrorist attacks have seen the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) introduce new, stricter security measures for its top brass. Meetings of senior personnel, in particular, will be accompanied by considerable security levels, although an SPA spokesperson has said that the move is being made because these meetings involve a large number of senior personnel and not because of any particular threat to specific meetings.

SPA public meetings could be considered a major security risk, because they are open meetings and they allow members of the public to come in, and essentially scrutinise the force. The force were keen to point out that the format of those meetings would not be changed, and that members of the public would still be free to attend, and that recordings of the events are also available via the SPA website. However, the killing of police officers in France, Belgium, and Denmark in recent months, as well as the increased security threat level for all British officers, has led to the changes.

Three French officers were killed during the Charlie Hebdo attack, and its aftermath, in France in January. The three officers received the country’s highest honour, and the French president spoke of the bravery of the officers and the fact that they died so that others could live free. A total of 17 people were killed during a series of attacks, including one officer that was executed as he lay injured on the ground.

Commandos in Belgium were forced to kill fanatics of Islamic State, who had planned to kill a police officer or judge, and there were fears that the tactic was going to be deployed in countries around the world. Such stories gain a lot of media attention, and all around the world, which extremists believe helps to spread their message, and the Danish incident is unlikely to have been the last of its kind.

Following the Paris attacks, police forces in the UK were put on high alert, and security chiefs felt there was a growing threat to officers on the ground as well as senior personnel. It is believed that extremists, including Islamic State extremists, may attempt to copy the tactic and that an attack on British soil was likely.

Forces across the country have been hit by cuts in recent years, which means fewer numbers of personnel on the streets, and there has been some discontent regarding a number of decisions made by forces across the country. However, the SPA continues to offer public meetings, where civilians are not only permitted but encouraged to attend, and this openness, coupled with the fact that the meetings are home to the upper echelons of Scottish police makes the meetings a potential threat. The SPA has said that it will increase security, and that there will effectively be a ring of steel around senior personnel that attend these and other, similar meetings, to help ensure the safety of their officers.
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