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Don’t be alarmed, be aware, says police boss

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Don’t be alarmed, be aware, says police boss

A POLICE chief has highlighted the need for the region to be vigilant about the chances of a terrorist attack.

Dumfries and Galloway’s divisional commander Chief Superintendent Gary Ritchie – pictured – has welcomed the fact that terrorism was not highlighted as a local priority in the Your View Counts survey.
However, he doesn’t want people to be complacent and has appealed for vigilance.
He said: “This is both encouraging and concerning; encouraging because people rightly recognise the area is a safe place to live, work and visit and where there would appear to be very few obvious targets for those bent on launching the type of attacks we’ve seen elsewhere.
“This is undoubtedly true, but what concerns me is that this could lead to complacency and an “it’ll never happen here” attitude which potentially could expose the region as weak.”
Discussing the UK’s preparation for potential attacks, Ch Supt Ritchie said: “The truth is we simply do not know where or when the next terrorist attack will take place or what form that will be, so we have to be ready everywhere.
“Recent events, such as the brutal killing of a priest in a quiet suburban town in France and the targeting of military personnel in Norfolk, have shown that terrorists will look at areas which they would consider soft targets. I therefore think it is hugely important to ensure that our area is not seen as a soft target.”
Nothing Police Scotland’s planned increase in armed officers, he added: “As with everything though, public support is crucial and we need our communities to let us know if they see any behaviour which they might consider suspicious.
“I would reiterate that this region is very safe, there is no direct threat and the message to our communities is don’t be alarmed but be aware.”

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