Steps being taken to protect people in Blackpool from terrorism threat

Lessons are being learned from the Manchester Bomb inquiry

Investment in new CCTV, designing safer spaces and partnerships between the council and emergency services are among the ways Blackpool is protecting itself from the threat of terrorism.

Lessons are being learned from the Manchester Bomb inquiry, while operators of all major venues in the resort are also involved in ensuring Blackpool is prepared should an attack happen. Systems were tested this month during a security alert at Blackpool North Station on Sunday July 10.

Cordons were quickly put in place alongside an evacuation procedure, before a controlled explosion ended in a package being deemed ‘non suspicious’.

Alan Cavill, director of communications and regeneration at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the Audit Committee “a strong planning regime” was in place to deal with potential incidents.

This included reacting to alerts such as the one at Blackpool North Station, and putting high level security in place at events such as the Illuminations Switch On.

He said: “We were worried people might be frightened by barriers and armed police etc, but they are not. It makes them feel safe. When people come to our events, they know someone has thought about it.”

Initiatives have included creating a safe route from Blackpool North Station to the Winter Gardens Conference Centre which includes heavy duty bollards along Topping Street designed to protect pedestrians from a vehicle attack. There are also barriers in front of the conference centre, and gates going in at either end of Leopold Grove enabling it to be closed off when necessary, as well as tougher measures at the Tower.

Blackpool has CCTV in operation, with work underway on a £2m upgrade of the system which is expected to be in place in around 12 months time. The council is proposing to almost quadruple the number of cameras monitoring the town centre and Promenade from 92 to 346, and create a new Command and Control Centre.

A report to the Audit Committee says: “An attack can take place at any time and anywhere. It is therefore important that the council take the risk seriously and by working with our partners the council consider this and plan appropriately. This is not unique to Blackpool and similar activity will be taking place across the country.”


Shelagh ParkinsonLocal democracy reporter
  • 05:10, 26 JUL 2022

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