Security measures increased as Edinburgh responds to the UK terror threat.
Safety procedures temporarily put in place across high-profile capital sites in the aftermath of the London Parsons Green bombing.
Over the past weekend, visitors across many of Edinburgh’s top tourist sites have been greeted by new provisional security protocols put in place around the city as police forces in Scotland react to the recent Parsons Green station terror attack.
The attack, which took place on the District line during rush hour nearly two weeks ago, resulted in no fatalities, but left thirty injured after the use of an improvised detonation device.
Several people have since been arrested in connection with the blast as part of an on going nationwide counter-terrorism operation.
The explosion at Parsons Green is the latest major terrorist incident to affect London in the past six months, following on from the similar attacks on Westminster and London Bridge earlier this year.
Although the official UK threat level was lowered from ‘critical’, the highest possible category of public endangerment against imminent terrorist attack, to ‘severe’ last Sunday afternoon, the UK Home Office continues to issue a nationwide warning that threat from possible terrorist attacks remains highly likely.
In a press statement released by Police Scotland’s social media channels shortly after the decision to lower the threat level, Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins confirmed that ‘’we have had additional armed police officers on patrol across the country and the public should continue to expect these officers as we gradually scale back our policing response in keeping with a UK-wide operation.”
He also reaffirmed the police’s commitment to support and work with the public stating “ultimately communities defeat terrorism, and we must maintain the strong relationship we have between the public and the police.”
While police intelligence suggests the chance of a terrorist attack in Edinburgh remains low, these new measures follow a trend for Scottish anti-terrorism forces responding to the wider national threat. For example, temporary security barriers were installed before the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals as a precautionary measure against the risk of vehicle attacks on pedestrians.
As a part of these new procedures active in Edinburgh, longer queues were seen stretching far down Chambers Street on Saturday and Sunday, as tightened measures on bag checks and security questioning were introduced at the National Museum of Scotland.
The museum was Edinburgh’s most popular public attraction in 2016, with a recorded 1.8 million visitors.
In a series of additional press releases and tweets following the events in London, other large public attractions across the capital were quick to announce changes in response to the threat level.
In a statement, security officials for Holyrood announced on Saturday that “as a result of the security threat level being increased, extra security measures will be in place at the Scottish Parliament.’’
Such procedures included a blanket ban on all tours and education visits, but these restrictions have now been lifted following the reduction of the threat level from critical to severe.
Likewise, staff at Edinburgh Castle confirmed on Sunday that extra security checks were in place, but these have also been lowered once again as of this week.