London

Met Police boss warns 'it's when, not if' terrorists target UK

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe lays a wreath at the memorial in Hyde Park to mark the 11th anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe lays a wreath at the memorial in Hyde Park to mark the 11th anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London

A terror attack on the UK is "highly likely" and it is a "case of when, not if", the Met Police Commissioner says.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the threat level has been "severe" for the past two years and armed officers have been increased by 600 to 2,800.

Since Lee Rigby's killing in Woolwich in 2013, several terror plots have been foiled including one to murder officers at Shepherd's Bush police station.

Sir Bernard said after events in Europe he cannot "entirely" reassure people.

"I feel and understand that fear and as the police officer in charge of preventing such an attack know that you want me to reassure you. I am afraid I cannot do that entirely," said Sir Bernard, writing in the Mail on Sunday.

Plot to target US soldiers

"Our threat level has been at "Severe" for two years - it remains there.

"It means an attack is highly likely - you could say it is a case of when, not if."

Speaking about recent foiled terror plots, he said a UK-based terrorist also had "advanced plans to carry out a Lee Rigby-style attack on US soldiers, using a car and knives to murder the servicemen and potentially detonate a bomb as part of the murderous plot".

The Met's collaboration with the MI5 and MI6, strict gun control laws in the UK, and the vast majority of police officers being unarmed has meant the public have a healthier relationship with police and the country has withstood terrorists, he added.

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