The G8 summit at Gleneagles brought “Scotland into the middle of the frame” for terrorists, a newly released document has shown.
In 2005, eight world leaders met in the Perthshire town, with topics including climate change and the plight of some African nations on the agenda, while then first minister Jack McConnell was looking to improve Scotland’s profile on the world stage.
The three-day event was marred by protests at nearby Auchterarder and in Edinburgh, which included violent clashes with police.
On the second day of the conference, July 7, three homemade bombs were detonated on the London transport network, killing 52 and injuring more than 700 people in the deadliest terror attack on British soil since Lockerbie.
National Records of Scotland has now released previously unseen documents detailing the planning of the summit, including a report from the Ministerial Group of Civil Contingencies.
The report, presented to the cabinet in March 2005 by then justice minister Cathy Jamieson, identified the summit as a target for terror, but prophetically said the UK capital “is a more likely target than anywhere in Scotland”.
The report said: “There is real urgency about this.
“The threat from terrorism – in terms of conventional chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attacks – remains at a historically high level.
“London is a more likely target than anywhere in Scotland, but the G8 summit will certainly bring Scotland into the middle of the frame temporarily and the east coast oil installations remain a constant concern.”
Despite the bombings in London, the summit itself appeared to run smoothly, with a post-conference report by finance minister Tom McCabe later that year saying: “Given the amount of advance pessimism there was remarkably little disruption to the summit, while genuine protesters were able to make their points effectively.”
A total of 11,000 police officers were brought in from across the UK, with arrest numbers ranging from 350 to 500 in some estimates.
The UK Government was reportedly pleased with the operation of the summit, according to the report, with Mr McCabe adding: “The public, private and voluntary sectors in Scotland worked enthusiastically, together and separately, to make the most of the summit. There was a real sense of teamwork.”