New counter terrorism measures adopted to protect Blackpool
Tougher security measures to combat the threat of terrorism are set to be adopted in Blackpool to protect the resort’s busiest areas.
The added controls will give the police stronger powers over the road and pedestrian network in the event of a serious incident.
A council report says while there is no specific threat to Blackpool, chiefs have agreed to the introduction of an anti-terrorism traffic regulation order (ATTRO) to enable the new powers.
The resort, which attracts millions of visitors a year, is acting in response to attacks elsewhere where terrorists have targeted crowded places.
Stronger systems are also deemed necessary to protect the new conference centre due to open this spring at the Winter Gardens, and which is expected to attract high profile dignitaries.
A council report says the order will enable the police to “work with partners to future proof the safety of the iconic venues in Blackpool against the risk of a terrorist attack.”
It adds: “The development of the Winter Gardens Conference Centre is attracting reservations from Parliamentary parties which is presenting opportunities to the town and conversely increasing the risk of policing such events.”
The AATRO zone will ring the town via Squires Gate Lane, Progress Way, the M55 Link, Preston New Road, South Park Drive, East Park Drive, St Walburgas, Plymouth Road, Warbreck Hill Road, Gynn Square. the Promenade and Starr Gate.
Its use would include to keep access clear on main routes for emergency vehicles in the instance of an emergency incident, and also to assist with evacuation procedures.
But it would also allow measures such as the installation of rising security bollards around the town centre, the removal of parked cars and restriction of pedestrian and vehicle movements.
The powers within the order would only be used on a temporary basis in response to specific incidents or security intelligence.
The report says: “The overarching rationale for this is public safety and the need to protect the public from acts of terrorism.
“In recent years there have been a number of significant terrorist atrocities in the UK and mainland Europe.
“In order to mitigate this threat Blackpool Borough Council have worked closely with Lancashire Police, to put in place protective security arrangements to enhance public safety.
“The introduction of an ATTRO will complement and support the continuing work being undertaken by both Blackpool Borough Council and the police.
“The ATTRO would only be brought into use as an operational measure in two
circumstances, for pre-planned events as part of an overall security plan and also as a reaction to an incident where there is an immediate need to protect the public.”
Having an ATTRO in place allows the police to restrict traffic and pedestrian access to an area by using measures such as road and footpath closures and the clearing of parked vehicles from streets in and around the venue or incident location.
It would also assist evacuation of casualties and keep key routes clear of traffic.
It can only be brought into use under the direction of Lancashire police, by an
officer of at least the rank of inspector in consultation with the duty strategic commander.
The use of the ATTRO for a pre-planned event must be agreed between the police and the council.
Restrictions must remain in place for no longer than is necessary and would be reviewed by the council and the police jointly at least every 48 hours.
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