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7/7 10th anniversary: Commander talks of ‘severe’ threat of terrorists to London

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 July 2015

Cdr Richard Walton

Cdr Richard Walton

Archant

London remains at significant threat from terrorists today with an attack “highly likely to occur”, police say.

The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, known as SO15, is tasked with protecting the capital.

Cdr Richard Walton, of SO15, said: “The current threat level in the UK is graded as severe – which means an attack is highly likely to occur, and may do so without warning. The threat and challenges for policing have vastly changed in recent years.

“As well as facing the threat from overseas terrorist organisations and their potential to influence attacks in the UK, our focus is also on the ever increasing radicalisation of our young people and the worrying levels of UK residents travelling to areas of conflict, some or all for terrorist purposes.”

From April 2014 to 2015 there were 338 counter terrorism-related arrests – a 33 per cent increase on the previous year.

Scotland Yard formed its first counter terrorism unit 130 years ago in response to a bombing campaign by an Irish nationalist movement.

Today SO15 has 1,790 officers and staff who work in close partnership with the security service, which leads on intelligence gathering.

“We rely on people within our local communities to help us safeguard against radicalisation and extremism and report concerns to the police,” said Cdr Walton.

Call the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or, in an emergency, 999.

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