You could see the smoke coming up from the vicinity of Bishopsgate and the first thing that struck you was the taller buildings. The damage to, what was then, Natwest Tower, and places like that. It was total devastation.
There was this huge plume of water coming out everywhere and the St Ethelburga's Church was just rubble.
Even now after all these years, it’s something you do remember quite well because I don’t think anyone had ever seen devastation like it before.
– PC RICHARD FULLBROOK, CITY OF LONDON POLICE
For PC Joanne Richardson the effects of the bomb stayed with her for years. Standing on one of the outermost cordons, Richardson heard the bomb go off before glass rained down, injuring her in the process.
There was a little shop in front of me and the window blew in and I got thrown into a doorway. I felt this immediate pain in my right eye. I remember having my hand over my eye and being scared to look. I knew there was something in there. When I looked down my white shirt was filthy, my face was filthy, everything was filthy.
Everything from the ground had been blown up and thrown into my face. I was off work for 3-4 weeks but it’s the emotional and psychological effects that stay with you for a lot longer. If I heard a car backfiring or a roll of thunder for a good couple of years I was a little bit jittery to say the least.
– PC JOANNE RICHARDSON, CITY OF LONDON POLICE
Following the attack, the City of London Police installed a ‘ring of steel’ in July 1993.
Most routes into the City were closed or made exit-only, and the remaining routes had checkpoints manned by police officers 24 hours a day.
There were CCTV cameras at each entry point - one to read the vehicle registration plate and another to monitor the driver and passenger – and pursuit police cars and motorcycles were stationed nearby to follow any suspicious vehicles.
Operation Orange, as we called it, involved police motorcycles, pursuit cars, and vans of Support Group and Firearms officers, putting in road blocks.
Every vehicle coming through would be stopped and screened. If any vehicle tried to do a U-turn or break through the road block we were in a position to pursue it with armed officers.
Sometimes we had ‘spotters’ further up the road in plain clothes to look at the behaviour of the drivers as they approached the checkpoint. The idea behind these tactics was not only to detect terrorists but also deter them.
– JONATHAN BISH, RETIRED PC
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