‘We all found out via Facebook’: Flats residents criticise handling of Victoria Centre bomb scare

The Victoria Centre was cordoned off during the incident.

Some people living in the Victoria Centre flats say they felt let down by how a bomb scare was handled by the authorities.

Thousands of people were instructed to leave the main shopping centre building after a suspicious package was found at around 5:15pm on Saturday.

Large parts of Milton Street and Upper Parliament Street in Nottingham were also cordoned off up until 9pm.

Army bomb disposal experts attended the scene to examine the package, but say it posed ‘no threat’ to the public and called off the alert.

Around 450 flats are above the centre – and some people living in the building say they were left wondering what to do during the evacuation.

Some said they only heard about what was happening through friends on Facebook.

Thousands of people were asked to leave the centre at around 5.15pm.

Both Notts Police and landlord Nottingham City Homes tweeted about the incident, advising people in the flats at the time to stay inside their homes.

Notts Police also used a special Twitter alert system, which allows 999 services to push alerts to users during an emergency.

But a few residents instead told Notts TV News they were asked to leave their flats, while others felt communication should have been better.


Nottingham City Homes tweet residents to stay inside.
Notts Police update residents to remain indoors.

Some residents took to the Notts TV Facebook page to vent their frustration. Kirsty Phillips posted: “Yet again residents only find out via Facebook and yet again police say that residents been fully informed.”

Sharon Herod added: “Residents haven’t been evacuated.

“We all found out via Facebook, which is disgusting.”

A new £150,000 intercom system is to be installed in the Victoria Centre flats and work will begin at the end of this month.

Centre operators Intu apologised for the disruption and thanked everyone for their patience via their Twitter.

Notts Police declined to say exactly what the package was or where it was found in the centre, citing “operational reasons”.

Chief Inspector Mark Stanley said on Saturday: “We appreciate that evacuating such a prominent area of Nottingham city centre on a busy Saturday afternoon will have caused disruption to a good number of people and we would like to assure those affected that the decision to evacuate such a prominent area of the city is not taken lightly.

“The safety of the public will always be our first priority whenever reports of this nature are received and we would like to thank each and every one of those affected for their patience and cooperation while the relevant authorities worked to bring this incident to a swift and safe conclusion.”

Saturday’s incident follows a similar bomb scare in May, which also led to the centre being evacuated. Several residents also complained after this operation, saying they felt communication was poor.


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