On Friday, 26 June, six people were injured in a knife attack at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in central Glasgow, Scotland, in the United Kingdom. A male suspect was shot dead by specialist firearms police officers at the scene.
The six victims are all being treated in hospital, including one police officer, who is said to be in a “critical but stable condition” after suffering knife wounds. Despite earlier reports of three fatalities, the only person killed is understood to have been the assailant.
Armed police teams were called to the hotel at around 12:50 local time after reports of a stabbing and arrived on the scene within two minutes.
Video footage showed armed police entering the building as several people emerged with their hands raised. Eyewitness immediately reported a number of casualties being evacuated on stretchers after police had cleared the building, fatally shooting the suspect. Residents were ordered to stay in their homes and lock their doors.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the attack and stated that it was not being treated as terrorism-related at this time. Police have also stated that the incident is now contained and that there is no further threat to the public. Armed officers have sealed off part of West George Street amid the ongoing investigation.
The Park Inn Hotel had been housing a number of refugees and asylum seekers in recent months. The vulnerable individuals were rehoused from their previous accommodations to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The motive of the attack remains unclear at this time, with media reports that the assailant may have been an asylum seeker.
The Scottish Police Federation has announced that an internal police review will be conducted into the circumstances of the incident, and the use of a firearm by an officer will lead to an investigation held by an independent commissioner.
SOLACE GLOBAL COMMENT
Knife attacks occur with some frequency in the United Kingdom, though incidents of this nature remain fairly uncommon. Less than a week prior to the Glasgow attack, another fatal stabbing incident occurred in Reading, where three people died from knife wounds in Forbury Gardens park.
The Reading attack, which was declared a terrorism-incident was the third major terrorist attack since the UK downgraded its official terrorism threat level from “severe” to “substantial”; meaning that attacks remain likely but there is no intelligence of an immediate risk to life.
While the most recent high-profile knife attack in Glasgow has not been designated as terror-related, though the investigation remains underway, and it remains possible, despite the announcement from Nicola Sturgeon, that the Glasgow attack may be reclassified as a terrorist incident.
Knife crime has become a hot-button in the United Kingdom. London, in particular, has gained notoriety for the high frequency of stabbing incidents.
Bladed instruments represent the weapon of choice for would-be attackers and criminals in the United Kingdom. Knives are easily acquired, with virtually no barriers to purchase, as opposed to hard-to-obtain materials such as explosives that require expertise to handle and set up, or firearms that are subject to strict control laws.
As such, knives have been utilised by terrorists to carry out multiple deadly attacks, such as the recent London Bridge attack of 2019. Such attacks are extremely difficult for the authorities to prevent, and they can easily be carried out by lone actors, normally in conjunction with vehicles used to ram passers-by.
However, as evidenced by the Glasgow attack, police and other emergency services are able to respond rapidly to such situations, limiting their potential to cause mass casualties.
SOLACE GLOBAL ADVICE
- Residual police cordons remain in place and disruption is likely in proximity to West George Street, Glasgow.
- As this is the second similar attack within a week, expect additional security throughout the city and the wider country, especially around parks, tourist spots and other potential targets. Adhere to all instructions given by law enforcement.
- Further copycat or similar attacks are possible; as such, maintain situational awareness when in public areas.
- Report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the authorities.
- Despite this, normal travel can continue.
- Monitor media and Solace Secure alerts for situational updates.
- Authorities have also asked the public to avoid speculation. Direct any relevant video footage or images of the attack to the police and avoid circulating it on social media
- If caught in a firearms or weapons attack, individuals are advised to follow the UK counter-terrorism policing advice of RUN, HIDE, TELL.