Police have foiled SEVEN 'late-stage' terror attacks since pandemic

Police have foiled SEVEN ‘late-stage’ terror attacks since the start of the pandemic – as officers warn public ‘not to let their guard slip over Christmas’

  • Figures show counter-terror police foiled 32 terrorism plots since March 2017 
  • They include 18 Islamist plots, 12 extreme right-wing, two left, anarchist ones
  • Comes as officers warn public ‘not to let guard slip during the festive period’

Police have disrupted seven ‘late-stage’ terror attacks since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been revealed.

The latest figures take the total number of foiled terrorism plots in the last four years to 32, Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) said.

It comes as senior police officers warned the public ‘not to let their guard slip during the festive period’.

Since March 2017, there have been 18 disrupted plots related to Islamist extremism, 12 linked to extreme right-wing terrorism and two to left, anarchist or ‘single issue terrorism’.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, the senior national coordinator for CTP, said the public would be ‘well aware of the fact that the UK has suffered two terror attacks in quick succession, with the national threat level raising to severe – meaning an attack is highly likely.’

Taxi carrying suicide bomber exploded outside a Liverpool hospital in what police and MI5 are now probing as a Poppy Day terror attack. Experts fear he was copying an ISIS attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul

He added: ‘All of this combines to paint a picture of a sustained and high tempo threat, which our world-class police, security and intelligence services are doing everything in their power to combat.

‘But it takes a whole society approach to effectively tackle terrorism, and co-operation between the police and the public is vital, so we need you to be vigilant, and we need you to be alert.

‘As we approach the festive period, we need the public to help play their part in protecting the UK.’

He urged people to trust their ‘instincts’ and contact police over suspicious activity.

The UK’s terrorism threat was recently increased to ‘severe’, meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’, after terrorists struck in Liverpool and Essex.

It comes after a senior Metropolitan Police officer previously warned Londoners and visitors to the capital to ‘be alert, not alarmed’ in crowded spaces in the lead-up to Christmas.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations Matt Twist urged people to be ‘vigilant’ and look out for anything that is unusual, suspicious or concerning. 

Assistant Commissioner Twist described this year’s festivities as ‘the first proper Christmas we have had in a couple of years’ because of last year’s coronavirus restrictions.

He said: ‘There are going to be lots of places that are busy. There are going to be lots of venues getting back on their feet, lots of crowded places, lots of gatherings.

‘This is all around being alert, not alarmed.’

Forensic officers at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Essex on October 15 where Conservative MP Sir David Amess died after he was stabbed several times

Assistant Commissioner Twist also referred to the car crash at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin which killed at least five people as he emphasised the importance of forward planning from authorities ahead of the busy time of year.

He told Nick Ferrari on LBC radio: ‘This is about vigilance. There’s a lot of work that’s done in advance of gatherings and in advance of events in the UK.

‘We ask our security officers to put in place things like vehicle mitigation or to put in place barriers, or to limit the risks to people.’

He added that the incident in Wisconsin does not appear to have been terror-related based on early media reports.

Urging the public to report anything suspicious to police in the build-up to Christmas, he added: ‘We want people to be vigilant, looking out for what’s unusual, looking out for things that may be suspicious, may concern them.

‘That can be anything from a bag that’s in the wrong place – I think the public are well aware of that sort of thing – but also to stuff in their home or family lives, their friends becoming withdrawn or isolated, or making concerning comments.

‘It’s all around getting ahead of this. If you report something, the message is: You’re not going to ruin someone’s life, but you might just save one.’

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