Police are investigating whether renovation work taking place at the rear of the Ritz Hotel in Paris contributed to a lack of security when it was raided by thieves. Five men broke a window at the tradesman’s entrance to the famed hotel just after 6.30pm (5.30pm UK time) on Wednesday evening. Three of the thieves went into the hotel armed with hatchets. Inside, they smashed glass display cases and removed items worth “several million euros”1, throwing some of their loot from the window to two accomplices outside. Police have now recovered some of the jewels after they were scattered about during the arrest of the three suspects, while more jewels and watches were found in a bag dropped by one of the two robbers who got away. One report suggests that one of the three arrested was dressed as a builder. Witnesses at the hotel’s Hemmingway Bar saw the robbery unfold.
A witness told Sky News they heard “at least 10 rounds of gunfire”. Nik said: “My parents and I were sitting at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz for a drink and we were about to leave when we heard shouting from the bartenders to get down. “One man wearing a ski mask ran right from the bar door to the front, right past my father.
“He had an axe in his hand . Immediately the bartender closed and locked the door and corralled everyone to the back kitchen area of the bar. “We heard at least 10 rounds of gunfire so everyone dove behind the bar where we stayed there for about six minutes.”
Police union spokesman Jean-Michel Huguet would not confirm the use of guns by police or the thieves, but did confirm that the three men who entered the hotel were tasered and detained.
“Our colleagues are aware of the need for frequent routine patrols in these areas to watch and protect these luxury shops in the Ritz,” he said. “They were close by and received a call that the villains had entered and were committing an armed robbery in the Ritz . So my colleagues intervened, neutralised and arrested the individuals who had smashed the presentation cases with all the jewels.”
The two accomplices escaped, one in a car, the other on a motorcycle. A pedestrian was hit by the bike and lightly injured . The thief riding the bike dropped his loot and his weapons. The award-winning French writer Frederic Beigbeder was also in the Hemingway Bar and said the place was very calm, according to French newspaper Le Figaro. He is believed to have hidden in the basement. It is understood that the police know the identity of the men, who are believed to be from the Paris area. Place Vendome, where the Ritz is based, is also home to the Ministry of Justice.
Security in the area was increased in 2014 after several luxury jewellers were raided in violent robberies.
Image: The robbery happened at the Ritz Hotel in Paris . File pic
The Ritz has played host to scores of famous people since it opened in 1898. Coco Chanel lived there for more than 30 years while Marcel Proust, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and King Edward VII were regulars. The Luftwaffe set up their regional headquarters at the Ritz during the Second World War. Mohammed al Fayed bought the hotel in 1979 and carried out major renovations to bring it back to its original popularity.
Princess Diana famously dined at the hotel with Dodi al Fayed before they both died in a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma underpass.
On Tuesday 28 November, security operatives from around Glasgow attended Counter Terrorism Project Griffin Training at Cathouse, a music venue in Glasgow. The session in Glasgow was the first in a series of Project Griffin training sessions specifically targeting security operatives. A Police Scotland Counter Terrorism Security Adviser delivered the training and the event was supported by the National Licensed Trade Partnership (NLTP) whose Chair Donald McLeod provided the venue. This training will roll out in the major cities across Scotland in the coming months on behalf of the Security Industry Safer Scotland – Counter Terrorism (SISS-CT) in partnerships with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and Police Scotland.
Sharon Roberts, our Regional Manager for Scotland, said
Security operatives across Scotland play a critical role in protecting the public. Providing funded Project Griffin training to the Private Security Industry increases Scotland’s preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack. The fact that so many security officers and door supervisors have attended the training in their own time is testament to the dedication and professionalism of the security industry and reflects the determination of people in Scotland not to give in to terrorism.
Brian Muir, Chair of SSIS-CT, said:
The Security Industry Safer Scotland – Counter Terrorism (SISS-CT) Group welcomes this important initiative. This Project Griffin training is a vital tool in providing people with the knowledge and skills to recognise the threats posed by terrorism and to understand the actions they can take to prevent it and make places and communities safer. The SISS-CT s activities are not restricted to SIA licensed personnel and apply to the wider security industry. The Group consists of representatives from Police Scotland, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the SIA, security providers in Scotland and various other related agencies.
Donald MacLeod, Chairman of the NLTP said,
“The National Licensing Trade Partnership is very happy to lend its support to the SIA and Project Griffin. After the recent terrorist atrocities in Paris, Manchester and London, It is now vital that all who are involved in the licence trade recognise the benefits of Counter Terrorism training, which sadly is now as important as it is necessary. The safety of the general public and staff must always come first and never more so in these dangerous times.
The aim of the NLTP is to develop and promote positive working relationships between Police Scotland, the SIA and the license trade as well as support a shared aim of best practice, responsible operation and mutual respect for each other, and Project Griffin Counter Terrorism Training ticks all these boxes and more.”
Steve Johnson, Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable (Crime) said,
This event is an ideal opportunity to develop existing relationships in Scotland between Police Scotland and the private security industry and ther key partners. Police Scotland are delighted to support the innovative work being carried out by the Security Industry Safer Scotland (CT) Group at this time of increased risk nationally. The event reaffirms the benefits of collaborative working; ensuring organisations work together for a common goal, rather than in isolation, to make Scotland safer for all of our communities.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
PARIS: The plaza outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, where French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron plans a victory party if elected, was briefly evacuated on Sunday (May 7) following a security alert, sources said. A spokesman for Macron’s movement said the alert was due to a “suspicious package.” The check was completed around 1230 GMT. A police source said the area was cordoned off and searched by a police team “simply to banish any doubts.” Several hundred journalists who have been accredited for the post-election rally were asked to briefly move away from the site.
The Louvre, the most visited museum in the world, is situated on the banks of the River Seine in the heart of Paris. The plaza is the square between the two long arms of the building, where its famous glass pyramid entrance is located. The second-round vote in France’s presidential election is taking place amid tight security, with tens of thousands of police and troops mounting guard. A string of jihadist attacks since January 2015 have left at least 230 dead and hundreds injured. On February 3, a 29-year-old Egyptian wielding knives attacked troops patrolling the underground access to Louvre .
He was shot and wounded by the patrol. On April 20, three days before the first round of the presidential poll, a policeman was shot dead on the Champs-Elysees avenue, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. On Friday, a suspected extremist was detained near a military base outside Paris.
Guns were discovered as well as a pledge of allegiance to IS and several of the group’s flags, sources close to the case told AFP.