Paris attacks: Scotland Yard review anti-terrorism tactics

David Cameron last night after an emergency meeting. Picture: PA

David Cameron last night after an emergency meeting. Picture: PA

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SCOTLAND Yard will urgently review its tactics for responding to a marauding gun assault by terrorists in the wake of the Paris massacre, it emerged last night.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the scale of the attacks and the range of weaponry used in the French capital are a “serious cause for concern”.

It has also emerged that police presences are being stepped up at ports and major events following the attacks across the Channel.

Police have been preparing for an attack such as the outrage in Paris.

Hogan-Howe said: “We have developed appropriate tactics to deal with a firearms attack in London, but we will, of course, urgently review our approach in the light of last night’s act of terrorism in Paris. The scale of the attacks and the range of weaponry used by the terrorists are a serious cause for concern.

“But 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.”

In July, the Met carried out an exercise to test its response to such an incident.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the country’s top counter-terrorism officer, told the BBC: “It is one of the scenarios we had been thinking about.

“We have been planning for it. It is very much on the radar in terms of something we think may happen, but of course we constantly hope it won’t and all police and intelligence agencies across the western world are trying to defeat it, but we know that there are people out there trying to do that.”

The Met said police and security services were working “flat out” to protect the public. Counter-terrorism teams are working on hundreds of investigations and making an arrest a day on average.

Rowley said policing at ports and on the streets has been strengthened.

“People may notice some changes at events at big cities across the country,” he said.

“We will constantly keep that under review in the forthcoming days and weeks, but we can’t let the terrorists defeat us by becoming fearful and withdrawing from the streets.”

He called for vigilance but stressed that people should be “alert, not alarmed”.

Rowley added: “The ambition of terrorists is to sow discord, sow distrust and create fear.

“But at the heart of success in countering terrorism, regardless of the operations we run and the arrests we make, is the relationship between the public and the police. It needs to be stronger than ever.

“In particular, we as the police depend massively on information from communities; whether it’s about suspicious individuals or suspicious behaviours. We’ve had more reports than ever before over the last year. That needs to continue.”

Police Scotland deputy chief constable Iain Livingstone said the force’s advice to Scots was to remain vigilant. “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the terrible events overnight in Paris. Police Scotland continue to monitor the situation in the French capital,” he said.

“I would like to reassure our diverse communities across Scotland that the threat level in the UK has not changed and remains at severe, which means that an attack is likely and may occur without warning.

“I must stress, however, that at present there is no specific intelligence regarding any planned attack, but we all need to remain vigilant. I would urge everyone to remain alert, and if you see something that concerns you, please report this to us.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said the terror threat level in the UK would remain at “severe” but the Paris attack would prompt a review of plans. He suggested the threat posed by Islamic State was “evolving”.

He said: “Today the British and French peoples stand together, as we have so often before in our history when confronted by evil.

“They [the victims] were killed and injured by brutal and callous murderers who want to destroy everything our two countries stand for: peace, tolerance, liberty. But we will not let them.

“We will redouble our efforts to wipe out this poisonous, 
extremist ideology.”

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