|Megabus in London (Image by Oxyman)|
Here’s the scenario – you’re on a coach heading down to London and there’s just under 50 other people on the coach as well and also the driver. The coach is on a motorway and it’s busy. You glance over and see another passenger who has a bag and from that bag you see vapour or smoke.
What do you do?
You could do absolutely nothing and just hope for the best…after all, nothing can happen. (Saturday is the anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings. Sorry, just dropping that in).
Or you could, as the passenger on the Megabus did today, raise the alert. What that passenger did was correct and I applaud them for it. At the end of the day it was a fake cigarette but it might not have been. It certainly could have been someone up to nonsense, not necessarily terrorist related but someone messing around with matches. Or doing something they thought was innocent but had the potential to be more serious.
The incident was attended by the armed police and the army bomb disposal unit and the M6 was closed for a few hours. The response to the information reported to the police was quick and it set in motion an action plan that was thorough and well executed. It doesn’t matter that the outcome was a fake cigarette, what matters is that if it hadn’t been, if it had been a chemical weapon it would have been dealt with in the appropriate manner, coolly and calmly and also, they’d have had the person carrying it in their custody.
At the end of the day no one was injured, no one was arrested, there was no significant incident. An action plan was tried and tested. Everyone went on their way. The motorway reopened, life went on. Vigilance costs nothing and it may prevent something serious.
While I do see the funny side of the incident – Megabus surrounded, motorway closed because of a fake cigarette – I think it’s important to note that the passenger did what police forces across the country ask us all to do, if we see something suspicious – report it.
If you’re on Twitter check out the hashtag #Megabus for some giggles related to the incident.