Britain’s Metropolitan police commissioner warns the risk of a terror attack in the United Kingdom is a case of “when, not if.”
In light of the recent wave of worldwide terror attacks, Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he believes the threat from terrorism is very real and expresses “a greater sense of fear that Britain will be the next victim” on the official police blog on Sunday.
Despite the threat level in the United Kingdom being at “severe” since 2014, Hogan-Howe said the British “way of life and culture” have been instrumental in preventing terrorist attacks similar to those seen across Europe, most recently in Nice and Normandy, France; Brussels, Belgium; and Wurzburg and Ansbach, Germany.
The world watched “the recent terrorist atrocities unfold with a terrifying and depressing sense of horror and dread,” the Met commissioner said. But amid growing public concern in the United Kingdom, Hogan-Howe said there are “lots of things working in our favor.”
Hogan-Howe noted the close working relationship the police have with the MI5 and MI6, calling that a “world-beater” that has given Britain “an advantage in intelligence and ultimately foiling plots.” Strict gun control laws also deter violence in Britain, the commissioner said.
In the blog post the commissioner points out the United Kingdom has a social climate of “tolerance and acceptance” that is “united in defeating terrorism.”
“We don’t stigmatize the millions of British Muslims whose values and faith completely reject the terrorists’ litany of hate,” Hogan-Howe said.
In an effort to prevent a large-scale terror attack similar to Paris in November, in which 130 people died, the overall numbers of firearms officers in the country have increased from 600 to 2800, Hogan-Howe said.
He acknowledged in his closing remarks that his message might not be reassuring to some, but encouraged people to be defiant in preserving their beliefs, values and way of life, “We will not become like them, we will not hate, we will not be cowed and because of this they will never win.”