London on high alert for Christmas terror attack in ‘less obvious’ locations
A police chief has warned Londoners to be vigilant for the signs of a terror attack this Christmas.
Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu has said there is a severe risk of “self-initiated” attacks by extremists over the festive period.
Despite the fact crowds will likely thin if the Capital gets plunged into Tier 3, terrorists won’t be short of targets, he warned.
Mr Basu said that the work of Islamic State and al-Qaeda to radicalise people online meant the chances of “self-initiated” attacks were high.
The feelings of isolation that many have endured during the last year were the perfect environment for resentments to grow, he said.
The police chief suggested that the attack on Streatham High Street earlier this year showed that less obvious locations could be targetted.
He added that extremist plotting has reached a new record high.
Mr Basu said: “We are at a severe threat level, meaning an attack is highly likely and we are there for a reason.
“In the last two weeks we reached a historic high in the number of investigations that we are dealing with so it’s well over 800.”
Mr Basu urged people to be on the look-out for people who appeared to be conducting reconnaissance missions.
He also asked Londoners to be vigilant of people carrying large backpacks in prominent locations.
According to the Assistant Commissioner friends and family are best placed to notice suspicious behaviour changes.
Those that do have been asked to log onto the ACT Early website for help.
“We’ve had ten months of self-isolation and anyone who is malleable or suggestable to this sort of stuff is going to have seen a growth in it over the last ten months and is probably going to be more anchored to it than they ever have been before,” Mr Basu said.