BICESTER’S shopkeepers will undergo training to help them be better prepared if the “unthinkable happens” and terrorists attack the town.
Later this month shops will be given a lesson in what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
It comes after terror incidents including the Kenyan shopping mall attack and the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby.
Cherwell Crime Partnership co-ordinator Kym Curtis says Bicester could be deemed a “soft target” by terrorists because of its military links.
The town is home to Bicester Defence Storage and Distribution Centre, which supplies equipment to troops across the globe, and soldiers who are based at both St David’s Barracks and St George’s Barracks.
Mrs Curtis said: “I went to a conference in Milton Keynes and there was a presentation from the Counter Terrorism Unit. They discussed how people behaved after the Lee Rigby atrocity.”
She said many people were in shock while others approached the attackers – a risky idea.
Shop staff will be advised on what to look out for, and how to react if the town is under threat.
This could involve locking up shoppers in their stores.
Staff at designer outlet Bicester Village have had training for Project Griffin, run by South East Counter Terrorism Unit.
Mrs Curtis told traders: “We can all remember terrorist attacks – 9/11, 7/7 and the Lee Rigby atrocity in Woolwich.
“All of these events highlighted how under-prepared we are.
“As a community it is important that we are not complacent.”
Shop staff in Bicester will be the first in Oxfordshire to get the training but it could be rolled out across the county.
Shop owners have welcomed it.
Kizzy Godin, of FNKY salon, said: “The more people who know how to deal with something like that the better.”
Hayley Collier, of Bicester Beds said: “It’s a good idea for all towns to have an emergency plan.”
Kieran McMullan, of Bicester Village, said: “We were pleased to take part in Project Griffin as part of an awareness-raising exercise for our security team.
- Training is free at John Paul II Centre, in the Causeway, at 10am, on February 25. To book a place email Mrs Curtis on firstname.lastname@example.org. police.uk or call 01869 364540