The UK’s Emergency Planning Society has expressed solidarity with its counterparts in France and said its members in the UK would be extra-vigilant in ensuring ‘HVM’ – hostile vehicle mitigation – was incorporated into Britain’s busy cities.
Tony Thompson, chair of the EPS and a former British Transport Police Superintendent, said that EPS members in their professional capacity regularly carried out counter-terrorism exercises in the UK. But they also – particularly those working in Emergency Planning Units within local authorities – contributed to the planning process for new build, ensuring such issues as HVM are integrated into general safety measures.
He said: “The public should be reassured that emergency planners are very aware of the vehicle borne threat, which is why the public will often see bollards and barriers in their city around buildings that could face a terror attack. This work has been going on for the past 15 years. These measures are mainly directed at stopping car bombs being driven into buildings, but they will obviously also deter the type of horrific attack we saw in Nice.
“The attack in France will re-emphasise the work already taking place in the early stages of the planning process for new public access buildings or where crowds are likely to gather – and of course for all existing established sites important to the critical national infrastructure of the UK.
He added: “EPS members will continue to play a key role in the security of the UK through their day to day work in our communities in planning and preparing for every eventuality.”
The EPS – the professional association for those working in the resilience and emergency response sector – also expressed sympathy for the victims and support for their counterparts in France.
Tony Thompson said: “Our thoughts are with the victims and all those affected by it. We also express our solidarity with our French colleagues working in the Directorate of Civil Defence and Security, and all emergency responders.
“Our members here will continue to play their role in keeping the UK safe – the public must not be intimidated by such attacks but be defiant and vigilant.”