Britain’s top police officer has warned that it is a question of “when not if” the UK is struck by a terrorist attack.
Writing on the Metropolitan Police blog, Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that, following the spate of horrific attacks in France and Germany in recent weeks, Britain is “highly likely” to be hit.
Sir Bernard wrote:
“We have all watched the recent terrorist atrocities unfold with a terrifying and depressing sense of horror and dread. I know that with each new outrage, and especially those on our doorstep in Europe, there is a greater sense of fear that Britain will be the next victim in this wave of cruel and mindless mass murder. I feel and understand that fear and as the police officer in charge of preventing such an attack know that you want me to reassure you. I am afraid I cannot do that entirely. Our threat level has been at “Severe” for two years – it remains there. It means an attack is highly likely – you could say it is a case of when not if.”
His comments came as it emerged a new agreement between the British military and the police has been reached as they prepare for any such attack.
The Times reported that the “lift and shift” deal means that armed police will be flown by military helicopter if there is an incident in a remote region. This is necessary because of the shortage of firearms police officers in Britain.
Meanwhile, in the south of France, armed police were seen patrolling the beaches of St Tropez over the weekend.