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Essex Fire and Rescue criticised after 'terror details' not blacked out properly

  • 6-21-2014

A fire service has been accused of putting the public at risk by failing to properly redact details of potential terrorist targets from a document.

Part of Essex Fire Service's "strategic assessment of risk" outlined its terrorist incident response plans.

Essex Police urged the service to redact parts of it because they could have been useful to terrorists.

But if the online document was copied and pasted into another document the blacked-out sections could be seen.

The problem was noticed by the BBC which informed the fire service. The document has now been removed from the service's website.

One redacted chapter gave the details of every oil refinery and chemical plant in and around the county.

It also gave the locations of oil pipelines, hospitals, football stadiums and Colchester Zoo.

'Mistake was rectified'

Another chapter - headed "Terrorism" - gave details of how the fire service would be involved in the event of a terror attack here in the county, or in London.

Essex Fire Service thanked the BBC for pointing out the oversight adding: "The mistake was rectified as soon as we were made aware."

But leader of the Labour group on Essex Fire Authority, Cathy Kent, said: "It is very, very disappointing to find that something as simple as this has not been done correctly.

"Potentially it could mean a lack of confidence in the ability in Essex County Fire and Rescue to carry out their duties professionally. Potentially people's lives could be put at risk."

Kerry Smith, UKIP member of the authority, said: "Of course if something is going to be redacted, then it should be redacted.

"But the fact of the matter is that some of the stuff which has been redacted, to be honest, I don't see how a terrorist could make something of it."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2014 BBC

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