Senior officials in the United Kingdom have announced their plans to prevent terrorists plots to attack Britain as French investigators are working to get answers after the Paris massacre.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, a Scotland Yard commissioner, said on Saturday that investigators are relentlessly working to stop attacks in the United Kingdom and have been since 2014, the Guardian reports.
“The UK government recognised the increased threat in the summer of 2014 and raised the threat level to a point where an attack is considered to be highly likely. Police and security agencies have been working flat out since then to protect the public. They are currently working on hundreds of active investigations and making, on average, an arrest a day.”
Many believe that the killings in Paris represent a change of tactics by the militant group Isis. The attack Friday certainly surprised French counter-terrorism officials.
After the attack on France, the United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron, had to chair a meeting of an emergency government committee called Cobra because of police warnings that said jihadis were feared to be plotting several casual attacks.
Cameron said Friday’s attacks was the “worst act of violence on French soil since the second world war and in Europe for a decade.” The Prime minister also warned that the United Kingdom must be prepared or numerous British casualties and described the attackers as “brutal and callous murderers.”
MI5 chief, Andrew Parker, in a rare public speech last month, warned that Isis meant for their attacks to kill as many people as possible.
“We have seen greater ambition for mass casualty attacks. All of this underlines the growing threat we face. It may not yet have reached the high water mark, and despite the successes we have had, we can never be confident of stopping everything.”
Prime Minister Cameron agrees with Parker. Saturday, Cameron said that the United Kingdom faces the same threat as France and that the militant organization is clearly using new strategies to coordinate their attacks.
“In light of last night’s attacks, we will of course review our plans and make sure we learn any appropriate lessons. It is clear that the threat from Isil [Isis] is evolving. Last night’s attacks suggest a new degree of planning and coordination and a greater ambition for mass casualty attacks. We must recognize that however strong we are, however much we prepare, we in the UK face the same threat.”
In a direct reaction to the Paris attacks, police in the United Kingdom have increased patrols around places they call “soft targets,” such as theaters in London. Counter-terrorism sources say there will be extra security at all airports, especially those with routes to or through France. There will also be extra security at events where large crowds will be gathered.
Cameron said the terror threat level in the United Kingdom would remain severe, but said the heightened measures are meant to reassure the public and there is no specific intelligence of a direct threat or attack to Britain. And Commissioner Hogan-Howe says the public does not need to live in fear.
“The public can be reassured that our firearms officers are trained to deal with this kind of incident and we are constantly evolving new ways to combat the threats to public safety.”
[Photo by: Chris Ratcliffe-WPA Pool: Getty Images]