High-profile London hotels are being given specialist police training to combat the threat of terrorism, following the Mumbai terror attacks in November.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week revealed that counter-terrorism security advisers from local police stations had been training staff at major hotels on how to cope with a terrorist attack, as part of a review of security procedures in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that killed almost 200 people.
Appearing before the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Smith said: "We have taken the opportunity of the review to accelerate the publication of protective security guidance to both hotels and hotel security professionals. We have a network of counter-terrorism security advisers who are able to supplement that advice by actually visiting specific venues and delivering training."
In London, both the Dorchester hotel on Park Lane and the Stafford hotel in Mayfair said they had been visited in the past month by the terrorist division of the Metropolitan Police.
Roland Fasel, general manager at the Dorchester, said: "Our head of security was visited at the end of December by someone from the Metropolitan Police. They gave him additional information and leaflets as well as filling out additional forms. We were also briefed last week on the global situation that there was more risk of terrorism."
Stuart Procter, general manager at the Stafford, said he was visited two weeks ago by the terrorist division of the Metropolitan Police, who plan to return in the first week of February to give staff extra training.
A spokeswoman for the Ritz said that although it had not received a specific visit, security training and briefing was "an ongoing issue" for the hotel. "Since the Mumbai attacks we have stepped up our in-house security, reintroduced bag searches in the lobby and have a security officer positioned inside the entrance," she said.
By Gemma Sharkey
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