Public representatives in Penarth have expressed their solidarity with France today after last night’s Muslim terrorist attack in Nice in which 84 people were killed.
A special vigil to remember the victims of the attack will take place at The Senedd at 17:00 tonight
Stephen Doughty Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth took to Twitter to say “Awful news from Nice. Know the area where the attack happened well.This is one of the most dreadful summers ever.”
Penarth’s Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies said today “The attacks we have witnessed overnight in Nice were horrific, and we share the pain of a country still recovering from similarly shocking attacks in Paris last year. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in France as they attempt to recover from these tragic events, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. These attacks are heinous and immoral, and we continue to hope that love will ultimately prevail in this battle against hate.”
The attack comes on the eve of Penarth’s Carnival Day in which hundreds of people will be coming to watch the festivities on Penarth Esplanade.
The attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice has thrown into sharp relief safety precautions at all venues (particularly sea-side promenades) – where there are dense crowds and where it’s possible to drive a lorry along open and densely populated public spaces. In London today the “Cobra” security committee met to consider safety at all public events throughout the UK.
Penarth Town Council carries out risk assessments on all such local events. It’s one reason why the popular air display – which was the memorable highlight of last year’s Carnival Day – was dropped in the wake of the Shoreham Air Show tragedy.
Partially for safety reasons, measures to reduce the density of the crowds come into force this year at Penarth – with the Carnival events being spread over a wider area and many events being moved to the Cliff Walk . The risk of a terrorist driving a truck into a crowd at any resort however, is something which no one – until last night – had ever contemplated.
Penarth’s pedestrian promenade is easily accessible by heavy lorries – which can, and often do, mount the pedestrianised-area to carry out routine maintenance or deliver goods . The vehicle used in last night’s mass slaughter was an innocuous-looking rented refrigerated food delivery truck.
On Carnival Day tomorrow the whole of the Esplanade and Cliff Hill will be closed to all vehicles and the entire Esplanade becomes a pedestrian area and a barrier will be installed – but after last night’s mass murder in Nice, organisers may conclude that road cones alone are no-longer adequate to protect the public.
Although there will be police present at tomorrow’s Carnival Day South Wales Police no longer carry out public event coverage and rolling road blocks – which is why tomorrow’s Carnival Parade is starting at the Kymin rather than the town centre .
It may now be necessary for Penarth Council to consider new measures to physically prevent any unauthorised lorry forcing its way into the area whilst there are special events in progress and so many hundreds of people on the Esplanade.
However, totally closing off the Esplanade to all traffic is problematic as there is a vintage car parade along the Esplanade and also the James Sommerin hotel is now fully open. As the town council cannot interfere with the operation of the hotel, guests with cars have to be escorted through the crowds by a steward when they arrive on the sea front.
South Wales Police don’t comment on security measures but are echoing the statement issued nationally by the National Police Chief’s Council DAC Neil Basu. He says “Our thoughts are with the people of Nice, all those affected by last night’s horrific attack and the emergency services whose job it was to respond.”
DAC Basu added “UK policing continues to operate at a heightened state against the backdrop of a severe threat level – that level has been in place since 2014. As after previous terrorist incidents, I have today asked all forces to review major events over the next seven days to ensure the appropriate security is in place. Help us to keep our towns, cities and communities safe, remain vigilant when you are out and about and if you see anything suspicious then let us know using the Anti terrorist hotline 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency.”