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NATIONAL NEWS: Security services thwarted 13 potential terror attacks in four years

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.”

Three arrested over breach of security at Doncaster airport

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.”

West Ham reveal security plans to prevent further crowd trouble at London Stadium

Last Updated: 28/10/16 8:39pm

West Ham have released a new plan for further security measures at London Stadium

West Ham have announced new stringent security measures, including relocating some supporters and increasing the use of segregation netting inside London Stadium, in a bid to avoid further crowd trouble. Clashes between rival supporters marred West Ham’s 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea on Wednesday1, with several missiles thrown across a segregated area of the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand. There were further clashes along the walkway of the stand, with stewards struggling to keep fans apart before police in riot gear managed to quell the disorder. West Ham confirmed on Thursday that they were close to finalising the identification of 200 individuals involved in the crowd disturbances2 and insisted they would issue seasonal or life bans, depending on the severity of the offence, to any fan found to have been involved in the trouble.

West Ham’s EFL Cup win over Chelsea was marred by clashes between rival supporters.

In a letter released to Sky Sports News HQ on Friday, West Ham have revealed a new robust plan to prevent any further violence inside their new home. The plan includes:

Creating more distance between opposing fans to prevent missile throwing . This will be achieved by widening the segregation line on both sides of the lower tier. Removing risk groups from the stadium permanently with our ‘zero tolerance’ banning policy as outlined above.

Supporters of both sides confront each other and a seat is seen being thrown during the EFL Cup fourth round match between West Ham and Chelsea

Strengthening and widening the lines of segregation on the lower concourse walkway by creating higher barriers and a 10 metre wide sterile area . This is the area which became the pinch point at the Chelsea game, and despite the fact it wasn’t actually breached, we feel it is a necessary step to prevent any similar scenes at future matches. Ensuring home/away fan egress is physically segregated upon exiting the Stadium to prevent clashes on the podium . This was in place and proved effective after the match against Chelsea . This consists of a physical barrier either side of the away supporter turnstiles, and prevents supporter integration after the game. Inside the stadium we will also be employing the enhanced tactic of issuing a group of stewards with handheld video cameras . Stewards currently have cameras attached to their armour but we believe this investment will act as a clear and visible deterrent.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says he was hurt to see more crowd trouble at the London Stadium when they played Chelsea in the EFL Cup

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic also condemned the behaviour of the supporters involved in the trouble at his media conference on Friday, stating their actions hurt the club, the players and the majority of fans inside the stadium3. Prior to the match against Chelsea, West Ham had already banned 23 supporters this season for crowd disturbances. The Metropolitan Police have confirmed three men have been charged following the trouble at London Stadium, with offences ranging from assault on a police officer to possession of class A drugs.

A further three men were arrested, but all were bailed pending further enquiries.

References

  1. ^ West Ham’s 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea on Wednesday (www.skysports.com)
  2. ^ the identification of 200 individuals involved in the crowd disturbances (www.skysports.com)
  3. ^ stating their actions hurt the club, the players and the majority of fans inside the stadium (www.skysports.com)