Staffin residents turn out in force for counter terrorism event

A RURAL community like Staffin can play a key role in curbing extremism, a police officer told a recent counter terrorism event in the Taobh Sear.

In a first for communities in Skye, Portree-based Police Scotland sergeant Bruce Crawford delivered a presentation on terrorism, which is commonly thought of only being a problem in densely populated urban areas, to a captive audience at Columba 1400 earlier this month.

Sergeant Crawford, who is Skye and Lochalsh’s Local Counter Terrorism Liaison Officer, outlined the potential threats posed within rural districts to 24 Staffin residents, which included some Uig residents.

“The key message of the night was that communities rely on people within them to keep each other safe and report concerns to the police,” he said. “The police cannot do this in isolation and by working together we can help to limit the impact that those intent on causing harm can have. Attendees on the night were also given information regarding insignia, clothing brands, flags and symbols typically used by supporters of extreme right-wing groups. This generated some discussion about what it means to be part of these groups and reasons why people hold these beliefs. Engagement was very positive and people seemed to value the unique insight into how a counter terrorism investigation works.

Captive audience at terrorism event.

Healthy turnout at terrorism event.

“There was lots of discussion around the processes that police investigations must go through to ensure a thorough investigation whilst also considering human rights and community impact.”

Sergeant Crawford thanked everybody for attending and Columba Centre manager Jackie Gillies and her staff for hosting the event.