In the wake of terror attacks in France and Germany, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has warned that a terror attack in the UK is a case of ‘when, not if’, as he states that he cannot promise that an attack won’t take place. The threat level in the UK remains at ‘severe’, as it has done for the previous two years, however Howe did maintain that several terror plots had been foiled since the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013, including a plan to murder officers at Shepherd’s Bush police station in west London. He also said that gun control laws in the UK, much stricter than in many other parts of the world, helped make it difficult for terrorists.

'World-beating' intelligence relationship

The relationship between MI5, MI6 and the police was also described as a ‘world-beater’, as The Sunday Times quoted a senior intelligence source as stating that four active terror plots in Britain were currently being investigated by both police and intelligence services. Following attacks in Germany and France in recent weeks, there has been a great focus on Security in places that attract large crowds; the new Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace has recently held talks with retail bosses and sports venue operators to review security at shopping centres and sports stadiums. The murder of an 84-year old priest, named as Jacques Hamel, in Normandy on 26th July has led to churches in Britain being told to heighten security; this comes despite Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police stating that there is no specific intelligence relating to attacks again the UK’s Christian community.

'The terrorists will not prevail'

In a statement following the attack in Normandy, Prime Minister Theresa May stated ‘But on one thing, I think, we are all absolutely clear, and that is the terrorists will not prevail’. Following the recent attacks, the Metropolitan police has increased its contingent of armed officers by 600 to a total of 2,800, and a current review by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), which is supposed to report in October, is expected to redeploy firearms officers from rural areas to major cities, which are deemed to be more at risk from terror attacks.

However, concerns have arisen over threats to the personal privacy of UK citizens; the charity Privacy International has taken the issue of the mass collection of communications data by intelligence agencies before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), in a hearing which is expected to last four days.