Reference Library – England – Nottinghamshire
Security services thwarted 13 potential terrorist attacks on the UK in less than four years and are running more than 500 live investigations at any time, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed. Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley disclosed the figures as he launched a major appeal for the public to report any suspicions and act on their instincts, stressing that help is critical to foiling atrocities. The Metropolitan Police officer said that since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies have disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots. The figure is one higher than the last tally given in October. Information from members of the public has contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations. Describing the contribution as ‘extraordinary’, Mr Rowley said: “Some of that information is a change in someone’s behaviour, some of that’s about suspicious activity. “Sometimes that public information has actually started an investigation .
Other times it’s part way through and it corroborates some things or adds to things we already know. “The public are making a great contribution which is critical to us all working together to protect ourselves from terrorism.” Investigators have been making terror-related arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014, he said. The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe – meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’ – for more than two years. Mr Rowley said that ‘tempo’ of activity continues . He identified a host of challenges including encrypted communication methods, propaganda and the range of possible attack methods.
“Now we worry about everything from fairly simple attacks with knives or using vehicles all the way through to the more complex firearms attacks,” he said. “All of that means that our job remains difficult . We’ve got over 500 investigations at any one stage.”
In the year to March, the anti-terrorist hotline received more than twice the number of calls on the previous 12 months, with 22,000 people making contact. Mr Rowley said: ” Even though the public are doing a great job, we want more help.” As part of the Action Counters Terrorism campaign, a podcast has been produced revealing previously untold stories of how terrorist attacks on UK soil were prevented, featuring accounts from detectives, bomb disposal and surveillance officers. Mr Rowley said the aim of releasing new material was to give an insight into how terrorists might prepare and provide more confidence for the public to report any suspicions. He said: ” I think what often happens is a member of the public will see something, or hear something, and think ‘well that’s a bit odd, but maybe I’m overreacting and I won’t bother telling anybody’. “Us putting more information out there, the aim is that it gives that bit more confidence for the public.
“We will respond carefully, we won’t overreact. “If it turns out to be a call where you made it with good intent but actually there was no problem at the end of it, that’s fine. “We’d rather have many calls like that, rather than miss out on the critical one that helps us stop an attack.”
Security minister Ben Wallace welcomed the campaign, saying: ” The horror of recent terrorist attacks in Europe and beyond is a shocking reminder of the threat we all face.”
Last Updated: 23/12/16 8:56am
Melbourne Cricket Ground, which hosts the traditional Boxing Day Test
Cricket Australia has assured fans that security will be tight for the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Australia will begin Monday’s second Test against Pakistan with a one-nil lead in the three-match series, which follows a foiled terror plot targeting prominent sites in Melbourne. Counter-terrorism police and Australia’s domestic spy agency in Victoria recently conducted overnight raids on homes in the suburbs of Melbourne where they arrested six men and a woman. With obvious concerns over the historic fixture, which starts on December 26, Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland said: “Our security team is in contact with the relevant authorities to ensure we have the appropriate level of security at the Boxing Day Test and other cricket matches being held around the country.
“The safety and security of our fans, players and officials attending any cricket match is our number one priority. “We applaud Victoria Police for their efforts this morning in neutralising the threat and we will continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure the highest security standards and protocols are maintained.” Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has praised counter-terrorism police for foiling the ‘Islamist terrorist plot’ planning to target iconic locations on Christmas Day1. He said: “This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years. “They have been thwarted . They are in custody .
They are no longer a threat to Australians’ security.
“What these criminals seek to do is to kill, but they also seek to frighten us, to cower us into abandoning our Australian way of life, they want to frighten and divide Australians.”
Three arrests have been made after a group of trespassers sneaked into Doncaster airport and climbed into the cockpit of a plane. Police were called in after a group, describing themselves as ‘urban climbers’, filmed themselves breaching airport security to get into the cockpit of a plane. The group got into an empty hangar to climb into the plane. Footage of the incident and photographs were shared online. Airport officials admitted the incident when the footage emerged. The authorities were informed and airport bosses stressed that the ‘safety and security of our passengers’ remained their ‘number one priority’. A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police have this morning arrested three men in relation to an incident at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
“The men, all aged 19, from Ilford, Rugby and Sheerness, have been arrested on suspicion of endangering the safety of an aircraft.
“The men have been arrested in relation to a report of trespassing at the airport, made to police on Sunday, November 20.
“They remain in custody at this time being questioned by specialist officers.”