Heavy Police activity continues to take place in Edinburgh as police report that there is an “ongoing dangerous incident,” though have failed to provide any specifics about that incident. Police have declined to confirm early reports that there may have been a shooting that precipitated this activity, only saying that there is an ongoing incident taking place. The area around Royal Mile has seen significant activity, including reports of a helicopter circling the area and shining a spotlight onto rooftops and on the streets. Early reports of the increased police presence began to surface on Twitter, with people in the area wondering what was happening.
Approximately 50 police officers were reported deployed onto Cockburn Street in the Edinburgh Old Town. They were equipped with balaclavas and using riot shields during the operations which were able to be observed by witnesses. Observers noticed the use of dogs, and the presence of fire department vehicles on the scene as well. Police cordoned off the street and asked people to avoid the area, though they remained silent about the actual threat posed. It has been reported that police conducted a systematic search of the Old Scotsman building at 30 Cockburn Street. There is no indication whether or not that search yielded any results, but the use of search helicopters and the heavy police presence leads to the thought that they may still be searching for the person or people who have been the focus of this “incident.”
At least one observer at the scene described the Edinburgh city center as a “mini war zone,” though no actual altercations were observed on the street. The significant number of officers, however, particularly with the gear they are using, has many wondering about the nature of the danger the police are facing. With the lack of information being provided by the authorities, people are beginning to compare notes on the street and via Twitter in an attempt to piece the puzzle together. Early reports involved the rumor of a shooting, but nobody has come forth as the source of that rumor and some are now claiming that it is unlikely. Simple observation points to a manhunt, but with little to go on, most commenting from the scene are sticking with the shooting theory and continue to look for some confirmation.
Regardless of the actual cause, the fact remains that the Edinburgh city center is at a standstill, overtaken by a massive police presence with only the vaguest description of an “ongoing incident.” The expectation of those civilians and media members watching the scene unfold is that there will soon be some sort of statement released by police authorities to give the public some idea of what is actually happening. With little else to do but watch, the people of Edinburgh are glued to their spots, hoping for a glimpse of something that will tell them what has brought the police out to Old Town in such numbers. While police have repeatedly warned spectators to keep back away from the activity, they have not called for any sort of evacuation or given any indication of imminent danger to those crowds as they watch and wait.
By Jim Malone