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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Too Complacent at Hammersmith?

Both Barons Court and Hammersmith Tube stations were closed this morning after a
suspect package was spotted outside Hammersmith Broadway shopping centre (which leads to the London Underground station).

Hammersmith Station Security alert - photo by Gareth Cattermole

I normally change at Hammersmith and when leaving the house I didn't know that Barons Court had been closed too, but by the time I reached Hammersmith (about 9.30am) it had re-opened again. No one seemed remotely concerned and only a few people like myself nipped off the District Line at Ravenscourt Park as Piccadilly Line trains were temporarily stopping there. Going through Hammersmith it was business as usual. No extra announcements to look out for suspect parcels and suspicious behaviour, nothing.

It's interesting that the London Paper chose to find a commuter from North London who must be travelling on a different Tube system to me and other commuters I've noticed. Mr Smith from Enfield said "I think the level of panic has gone up without a doubt. The public is worried and wary and looking out all the time. After 7/7, people were looking for suspicious men with bags, but now there's a new dimension which makes things scarier because more things can be a threat and the threat is very real."

More people at work at talking about the rubbish weather at the moment and we work less than half a mile away from the failed bombing attempt at Tiger Tiger. A new colleague who sits opposite me at work, who's on secondment from the US, is amazed at how calm we're all being.

Is it because, luckily, no innocent people have actually been injured? Or what is going on? Do we think we can travel more easily in London because areas like Glasgow are now targets too? I still think Mr Smith quoted above is wrong. After 7/7 there was real worry on the Tube and you definitely saw people shiftily looking at anybody with a rucksack (particularly if they looked a bit "foreign"). Today, I sat through a station that had just been closed due to a suspect package outside of it and hardly gave a second glance at the Asian guys (complete with rucksacks) who sat opposite me.

Have you noticed any different behaviour on the Tube? Will the guy from the transparent Freedom bags think he's onto a little earner again? We are supposedly on critical terror alert after all.


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