Met chief warns new UK terror atrocity ‘is a case of when not if’: Britain’s top cop warns 600 extra armed police are ‘not enough to stop attack’
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the Metropolitan Police Commissioner
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 on the Continent, there is a greater sense of fear that Britain will be the next victim in this wave of mindless mass murder.
I feel and understand that fear, and as the police officer in charge of preventing such an attack, I know 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.
But where I can offer reassurance is in answering the other questions I know you so often ask – why and how has it not happened here yet? What are we doing to prevent it? How will the police protect me when it does?
What I can say is that we have not had a terrorist murder since the barbaric attack on Fusilier Lee Rigby on May 22, 2013, in Woolwich. I can point to the plots we have foiled and the potential terrorists we have put behind bars after we discovered their advanced plans to murder officers leaving Shepherd’s Bush police station to walk their beats.
Another plot involved a British-based terrorist planning to carry out a Lee Rigby-style attack on US soldiers based in East Anglia using a car and knives to murder the servicemen and potentially detonate a bomb. He was thwarted thanks to joint work by the police and MI5.
When I was a beat bobby in South Yorkshire, my starting point had to be that I wanted to stop the bad guys and the gangs before they bullied the families on my patch.