Plans to protect York’s busiest city centre spaces from the threat of terrorist attacks will be considered by two key council committees over the next fortnight.
York’s busiest city centre spaces are set for increased protection under plans unveiled by the council to combat the threat posed to UK cities by terrorists.
Following a decision by the Executive in February, the council commissioned independent security experts to develop a plan for long-term measures to combat the ongoing threat of ‘vehicle weapon attacks’ like those seen recently in Toronto, London and Nice.
After reviewing all the city centre access points, the report recommends changes in the first ‘priority zone’ including Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, High Ousegate and Spurriergate, Coney Street, Davygate, Finkle Street, Church Street and Jubbergate.
Longer-term, this will involve replacing many of the existing temporary measures, such as those at the end of Parliament Street, with permanent fixtures.
The council plans to introduce this as an experimental traffic order, which will give up to six months to understand the impact and work with affected groups like residents, retailers and disabled people.
Before the decision is taken on Thursday 27 September, the Executive has requested that the proposals are presented to today’s Economy and Place Development Committee, so the committee can consider the potential impact that the measures could have on disabled access to the city centre.
Superintendent Lindsey Robson, commander for the York and Selby area, said:
“We’re working with the council to make sure that York has the right security measures in place to keep residents and visitors as safe as possible.
“The national threat level remains severe which means a terrorist attack is highly likely and is likely to come without notice.
“This combined with the shift in methods from complex, coordinated attacks that we’ve seen around the world, to more basic attacks in the UK using hire cars and knives, means that we must do all that we can to protect the city from such attacks.
· “Alongside these physical measures there is a lot going on behind the scenes and we continue to work alongside counter terrorism police to prevent, disrupt and deter dangerous extremists across the country.
“We thank members of the public for their continuing support and although the likelihood of being involved in an attack is low, we urge them to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police in confidence on 0800 789 321 or via gov.uk/ACT. In an emergency always call 999.”
The current threat level across the UK from international terrorism remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely and the police reiterate the long-standing advice to remain vigilant and alert.
In the rare event of getting caught up in a weapons attack we urge you to follow the Run, Hide, Tell advice. Run to a place of safety rather than to surrender or negotiate. If there’s nowhere to go then hide and don’t confront. Finally, and only when it is safe to do so, tell the police by calling 999.