While football offers fans a chance to escape from everyday life as exciting entertainment sometimes the ugly side of the real world finds a way to creep in. This time it's the murky waters of terrorism that have raised concerns in Merseyside. Yesterday the police briefed the staffs at Everton and Liverpool about the growing concern of terrorist attacks in the northwest part of the nation as the year-end holidays approach. Ian Wiggett, the assistant chief constable in charge of counter-terrorism in the area stated: "Following the increase of the international terrorism threat to severe, there is a heightened need to ensure that the North West is in the best position to deter and detect potential terrorist threats."
It is important to note that neither club has been specifically pointed out as a target but the large crowds that each club attracts puts them on a list of "11 crowded places" that authorities have concerns about. The list also includes shopping centers and transportation hubs such as ports and the John Lennon airport. This was brought up during a planned counter-terrorism campaign which lasted a week. During the campaign, authorities are trying to spread the word of vigilance and provide information on what to do if an emergency does happen to occur. As with anything in life, it is always important to have a solid plan in place.
The Merseyside Police stressed that this is program is not intended to generate fear amongst the public that something will happen in Liverpool but to help them understand that terrorism can take place anywhere at any time. "A lot of people think these things happen in London or elsewhere - that it would never happen up here...But what we are saying is that this could happen anywhere and we are asking people to raise their awareness."
Terrorism is nothing new and the looming threat of attacks is something that we have all lived with for over a decade now. An unfortunate reality of the world we live in is that for some reason, we all can't get along and though it's a very small faction of people who wish to cause harm; that's all it takes to ruin things for the masses.
A confidential anti-terrorism hotline for reporting suspicious activities has been established at 0800 789 321.