Edinburgh St James



Edinburgh, UK

Completion Date





The Edinburgh St James project aims to redevelop disused council buildings with a state-of-the-art, prime shopping centre, a five-star hotel, multi-screen cinema, restaurants and residential apartments. The new project is a 1.7 million sq ft development that integrates the prestigious Maltrees Walk into the new central area of Edinburgh, known as the Galleria. The Edinburgh St James development will become the city’s prime shopping destination and an exciting hub for the city’s day and night time economy.

Creating a safe environment

In line with the Counter Terrorism Protective Security Advice for Shopping Centres created by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), and backed by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) as well as Police Scotland, the challenge for TH Real Estates was to understand and manage the security risks associated with operating an iconic mixed-use complex such as the proposal for Edinburgh St James.

Providing a Safe environment for business and the public is paramount in today’s climate of security threats. Crowded places, including shopping centres, are likely to feature in future terrorist attacks and although this project has no specific threat, the risk needs to be considered.

Beyond the terrorist threat are the conventional security requirements of the complex that minimise theft, burglary and assault to make sure that the facility is a safe and welcoming venue for shoppers, diners, cinema goers and resident alike.

Threat, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment

An extensive research project was undertaken to review the threats that could pose a risk to Edinburgh St James, their employees, the retail business and public. Crime statistics were analysed, the police and counter-terror advisors were consulted, and stakeholders were interviewed. The process established a list of vulnerabilities along with the threats and the likelihood of each one occurring.

A complex matrix tool developed by PTS allowed for the quantitative analysis of the raw risks to remove the subjective nature of conventional assessment. A common scoring mechanism for impact and likelihood produced the raw risk value, which was then assessed against vulnerability to get a base risk rating.

Security System Design

A series of control measures were recommended, and the risk analysis was re-applied showing that all of the risks could be reduced to a level that is as low as reasonably practicable if the control measures were put in place.

An integrated electronic security system was designed to meet the challenges of this 21st century iconic site. The scheme uses megapixel video surveillance throughout the public spaces to provide live control room images that are monitored 24 hours a day by a professional security team. Electronic access control ensures that the public cannot wander into maintenance area and critical spaces are secured with proximity card readers and alarm sensors. Critical communications link the security control room to the car park help points, loading dock intercoms and patrolling staff.

The advent of IP technology and Power over Ethernet means that this scheme makes the most of converged systems. Utilising the local area network infrastructure reduces cable requirements and allows the different systems to integrate at TCP/IP level.

Video Content Analysis

Video content analysis linked to the surveillance cameras provides automatic number plate recognition in the loading dock and car parks, while facial recognition software alerts the control room to known individuals entering the Galleria. The whole system is unified through a physical security information management (PSIM) system to get the benefits of automation, efficiency, enhanced intelligence and improved situational awareness.

The Result

  • Automated initiation of adjacent technology
  • Automated alarm information presentation
  • Automated SOP presentation
  • Enhanced intelligence
  • 24/7 central device monitoring
  • United front-end
  • Improved situational awareness
  • Improved mental model
  • Single point of reporting and trend analysis

PTS influenced the design of the complex to mitigate risks by designing security in, rather than placing it on top of a preconceived plan. The TVRA report provides a benchmark for future assessment to allow regular review of the ever-changing threat profile.


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