London News & Search
Police and MI5 are battling to protect the public from “large numbers of apparently volatile individuals” including some “determined to die” while carrying out terror attacks, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick has revealed.
In a new warning about the scale of the threat facing London, she said officers would have to make arrests earlier to cope with the heightened threat — even when evidence is more limited — as she called for a “step change” in the UK’s counter-terror efforts. She added that the existing totals of 500 active terror investigations and 3,000 suspects who pose the biggest threat were expected to grow and that military success against Islamic State in Syria might not reduce the threat to Britain.
Internet encryption, which “frustrates our investigations every day”, was also making the police task harder. The Commissioner’s comments came in a speech at London’s Mansion House in which she also warned that the “pernicious” menace of Right-wing extremism was causing “huge fear” in some communities in the capital. There was a risk of far-Right attacks driving others “into the arms of so-called Islamist extremism”, as well as new IS-inspired atrocities triggering more Right-wing extremism. She revealed that 14 far-Right members with “lethal capability” are currently in prison.
Ms Dick said it was vital that London retained its cohesion and keeps its reputation as a “largely safe and calm city” in which the rule of law prevails. Her most stark warning, however, was on the overall scale of the terror threat. She said that despite many successes in foiling plots, the “ghastly” attacks at Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Manchester had shown dangers were at a new intensity.
“We have large numbers of apparently volatile individuals in the UK, some of whom become determined to die, who may have been inspired largely through the web and decided on methodology learned from there too,” Ms Dick told her audience. “The modern threat, more than ever, includes the encouraging of others to commit atrocious acts. That virus can infect communities and is spreading faster and more easily due to the internet.”
She added: “What we have seen in recent months are individuals mostly acting in small groups or apparently alone. Many have favoured low-tech and relatively unsophisticated methodologies.
“These less sophisticated attacks can mature faster, making detection harder. The bulk of this domestic threat seems to be from those who are inspired by overseas networks.”
Ms Dick said protective measures like barriers and armed patrols had been stepped up, although this was costly. One example was the bill for protecting the world para athletics and athletics championships, which had doubled.
London News & Search