Anti-terror workshop a success

Dominic Bareham A SECOND anti-terrorism workshop in Great Yarmouth is being hailed a success after double the number of businesses were represented compared to the first meeting.

Dominic Bareham

A SECOND anti-terrorism workshop in Great Yarmouth is being hailed a success after double the number of businesses were represented compared to the first meeting.

PC Pat Bailey, one of the organisers of Project Argus said 32 town centre companies sent staff along to the Town Hall workshop on Tuesday when only 16 turned up for the first meeting a couple of years ago.

Two police officers, Det Con Paul Beaumont and Det Con Peter Hawkins visited town centre businesses in person to try and boost the numbers attending, and PCSOs also distributed leaflets.

PC Bailey had warned retailers not to be blasé about the possibility terrorists could target the busiest shopping areas.

“I was pleased that we did have such a good response although a number of people did not register and came at the last moment, which was fine.

Most Read

“Asking them to register beforehand has not proved too popular mainly because they cannot say whether they will be free at the time,” PC Bailey said.

High street retailers represented included Wilkinsons, Palmers and the new Debenhams which is set to open in October.

The business staff divided into smaller groups to discuss how to respond to a bomb attack in the town centre, including whether to “invacuate” rather than evacuate the premises - keeping customers inside a building after a blast.

Det Con Hawkins presented the three hour workshop along with Det Con Phil Marsh, a counter terrorism security adviser, who gave useful tips on what items staff should put in evacuation packs, such as radios, torches and water.

Stuart McGee, a director with Palmers, said he would be reviewing the store's existing evacuation procedures in the light of information that came up at the workshop.

He said: “I believe it went very well. A number of interesting items came up and it gave a lot of food for thought. Although we have evacuation procedures for fire and something like a bomb scare, we will be looking at one or two bits following the workshop.”