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TerrorismU.K. unprepared for terror attacks outside London: Experts

Published 29 December 2015

Security experts in the United Kingdom have expressed concerns about whether the United Kingdom has sufficient resources to respond to acts of terrorism outside of London. The questions were raised against the backdrop of reports that a “friendly” intelligence agency —- presumably, the CIA – has warned the governments of several European countries, the United Kingdom among them, that terrorists were planning a large-scale attack in a European capital on New Year’s Eve.

Nations that have dealt with terrorist attacks in the last 14 years // Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Security experts in the United Kingdom have expressed concerns about whether the United Kingdom has sufficient resources to respond to acts of terrorism outside of London. The questions were raised against the backdrop of reports that a “friendly” intelligence agency —- presumably, the CIA – has warned the governments of several European countries, the United Kingdom among them, that terrorists were planning a large-scale attack in a European capital on New Year’s Eve.

The two capitals most often mentioned in the context of the latest report are Vienna and London.

The Telegraph reports that “Four dedicated regional armed police units” could be set up to respond to a terrorist-related incident in other areas of Britain — that is, outside of London, where security experts say the policed does have the resources to respond.

The Express reports that the Home Secretary Theresa May has been in meetings with senior counterterror officers, aiming to have units on-the-ready twenty-four hours a day. The government is also considering proposals to have specially trained officers ready to be reassigned from other duties in the event of a terror-related incident.  

The Observer notes that concerns regarding the preparedness of the U.K. outside London have also been voiced inside the police. One source told the newspaper: “Ask a regional force how long it would take them to respond to a terror attack and watch them squirm.”

The terrorist threat level to the United Kingdom remains “severe.”