Scotland

Finsbury Park attack: More armed policing around Scotland's mosques

Police near Finsbury Park Mosque Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The assistant chief constable's comments come after the attack near Finsbury Park mosque in London

High-visibility police patrols are to be stepped up near Scotland's mosques after the Finsbury Park attack in north London.

Police Scotland said it had no intelligence about a specific threat, but said armed response vehicles would carry out patrols.

A man died and 10 people were injured after a man drove a van into worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque.

Eight people were taken to hospital after the terror attack.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Police said all the victims of the attack, which took place outside Muslim Welfare House, were Muslim.

Police Scotland's Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer said the force would be mounting additional patrols in the general vicinity of Scotland's 84 mosques and that could include armed response vehicles.

He said hate crimes were being monitored on a daily basis, but had shown no increase.

He added the force would not tolerate any attempt by any group to target members of any community in Scotland.

Image caption Police Scotland said earlier this month it would increase its number of armed officers

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon chaired a Scottish government resilience meeting following the attack.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, Communities Secretary Angela Constance, senior Police Scotland representatives and Scottish government officials took part in the meeting.

Ms Sturgeon said: "This was a horrific attack and my thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected. I know that everyone will be saddened to see yet another terrorist attack.

"I convened a resilience meeting this afternoon to ensure that we are closely monitoring the situation. While there is no intelligence of any specific threat to Scotland, Police Scotland remain vigilant and visible across communities to provide reassurance to members of the public.

"Muslim communities will understandably be anxious just now and it is in these moments that we must come together as a country and unite against extremism and hate from wherever it comes."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following the attack in London

Speaking earlier on the John Beattie programme on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Telfer said: "We don't have any specific information that Scotland is at risk of attack in any of our communities. I would ask everyone to go about their business as normal, remain alert but not alarmed.

"We have 84 mosques across Scotland and we have linked in with the Muslim Council for Scotland and it will be within the general vicinity of those sites that people will see increased patrols.

"What they will see is high-visibility policing and that may well include armed response vehicles and they may well see armed police officers.

"People should not be alarmed that, they should be reassured by their presence."

He added: "We have put our increased presence in place from the early hours of this morning and we will monitor that on a daily basis and our response will continue to be proportionate to the situation faced UK-wide."

Police Scotland said earlier this month it would increase its number of armed police officers by about a third following warnings that the country would not be able to cope with a major terror attack.

Speaking earlier on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme, Nabeel Shaikh, a former general secretary of Glasgow Mosque, said the authorities should do more to tackle extremist behaviour targeted at the Muslim community.

"Far-right extremism is just as dangerous as what we term the 'Islamic extremism' within our community," he said.

"Islamaphobia is on the rise and I think the government need to do something more about the far-right extremism that is growing and festering within our communities."

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