Armed police patrols stepped up on the capital’s streets and transport network in wake of London Bridge attack – just weeks after the UK’s terrorism threat level was downgraded
- Metropolitan Police officers will carry out an increased number of patrols
- British Transport Police will have a visible presence on trains and stations
- The terror threat was reduced from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’ on November 4
- The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre will re-evaluate the terror threat level
Police patrols have been stepped up in the capital after the London Bridge attack.
The incident comes just weeks after the UK’s terrorism threat level was downgraded.
Police said the stabbing, in which a man was shot dead by police, has been declared a terror incident.
Earlier this evening, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: ‘Public safety is obviously our top priority and we will be enhancing police patrols in the City and across London.’
An increased number of armed police officers will patrol London following this afternoon’s terrorist attack on London Bridge. These officers were photographed near the terror scene
The Metropolitan Police has increased the number of armed patrols on the city’s streets following this afternoon’s terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge where a suspected terrorist carrying a knife and a fake bomb was shot dead, pictured
Forensic officers worked at the crime scene while a decision was made about reassuring residents, tourists, shoppers, and commuters about the safety of the city
British Transport Police said they would have more officers, including firearms officers, on patrol in the capital from Friday night and at the weekend, at stations as well as on board trains.
The terrorism threat level was lowered on November 4 to ‘substantial’ from ‘severe’, meaning attacks were thought to be ‘likely’ rather than ‘highly likely’.
Announcing the decision, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Despite the change in the threat level, terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security.
‘Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat, and an attack might well occur without further warning.
‘As ever, the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police.
‘Government, police and intelligence agencies will continue to work tirelessly to address the threat posed by terrorism in all its forms.
‘The threat level is kept under constant review.’
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command said that the safety of the public was his priority. He confirmed today’s incident was being dealt with as a terrorist attack
Thousands of people were evacuated from the scene by police over fears of possible secondary attacks
It is understood the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) will review the current terrorism threat level
Commenting after the attack, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘I want to thank the emergency services and members of the public for their immense bravery in responding to this suspected terrorist attack at London Bridge.
‘This is an appalling incident and all my thoughts are with the victims and their families.’
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), an organisation made up of Government departments and other public bodies which reports to MI5, makes the decision on the threat level independently of ministers after weighing up intelligence and information on known terrorist groups.
A review is carried out every six months.
The level was raised to ‘critical’ in May 2017 after the Manchester Arena bombing and it was later downgraded to ‘severe’ in September of that year.
The threat level was downgraded earlier this month as the general who oversaw the US raid on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned the country was on alert for possible ‘retribution attacks’ by extremists, while other terrorism experts reportedly warned security services would be ‘braced for attempts to avenge his death’.
A more visible police presence is expected outside events such as Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, as well as at Premiership matches being held in the capital such as tomorrow’s London derby featuring Chelsea and West Ham.
British Transport Police tweeted: ‘We are working with @networkrail to reopen London Bridge station, including the Underground. Some exits will remain closed as a result of the earlier terror incident.’