Terror warning as lockdown eases
Terrorists could have a “greater opportunity to operate” as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased, a senior police officer has warned.
Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, one of Counter Terrorism Policing’s senior national coordinators responsible for making sure the UK is protected from such threats, urged the public and businesses to “be alert” to more than just the dangers of Covid-19 this summer.
According to a police statement, he believes “the easing of lockdown restrictions could provide a greater opportunity for terrorists to operate”.
The terrorism threat level is currently listed as “substantial”, meaning an attack is likely.
Counter Terrorism Policing has launched a campaign to encourage people to report anything suspicious to security guards and police.
Mr Twist said: “Following a year of restrictions impacting all our lives, we recognise people will be keen to get out and about as the lockdown begins to ease, and the importance of businesses being able to return to more regular trading patterns.
“But we must continue to follow public health guidance and remain vigilant, not just against the threat of the virus but against the threat of terrorism as well.
“Terrorism will understandably not have been high on anyone’s mind in recent months, and I would describe the threat as temporarily suppressed during lockdown, because it was difficult to go out in public and actually do anything.
“But that means that as the crowded places which have traditionally been the target for terrorists start to fill with people again, there is always the potential for that risk to come back.
“The best defence against the terrorist threat is a collective community effort, where police, security staff, businesses and the public come together to minimise the chance of attack.”
A free official 45-minute training session, called Action Counters Terrorism, is available to the public online to gain tips on how to report suspicious activity and how to react if there is a terror attack.