UK & World News
Terrorism: UK Must Plan For Major Attack
The emergency services must be better prepared to tackle a lone gunman or Mumbai-style attack on the streets of Britain, ministers will say.
Fast-moving attacks, such as those seen in Norway and Toulouse, are among the major scenarios the UK must be prepared for, Security Minister James Brokenshire will argue in a speech later.
Home Secretary Theresa May has asked the police and other emergency services "to make further improvements to the joint response".
Mr Brokenshire will say: "Staying ahead of the threat means ensuring our emergency response is capable of dealing with the threat in whatever form it takes."
Changing tactics have allowed terrorists to "achieve a devastating effect using relatively unsophisticated means", he will add.
"The experiences in Toulouse and in Norway demonstrate the impact that a lone individual can have if sufficiently motivated, while the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai were characterised by an ongoing firearms and explosives attack, and by hostage-taking.
"So we are improving the way the emergency services work together in response to a major incident."
Lone individuals sympathetic to al Qaeda's cause were believed to be one of the major concerns being considered by the security services and police in the run-up to the Olympic Games.
Mohamed Merah, who said he had links with al Qaeda, killed seven people in France's worst terror attacks in years near Toulouse in March, while Anders Breivik went on the rampage in Norway, killing 69 people in July last year.
And in 2008, 166 people were killed in the Mumbai terror attacks.
Giving a speech at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) in central London, Mr Brokenshire will go on: "The overall aim is to ensure that the blue light services are trained and exercised to work together as effectively as possible in response to a major incident, including fast-moving terrorist scenarios, so that as many lives as possible can be saved."
Mr Brokenshire will also warn that northern Mali is "at risk" of joining Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen on a list of places which "have all seen terrorism flourish in the absence of effective governance".
"This represents a grave threat to the people of Mali," he will say.
"But it also increases the threat to UK interests in the region and, potentially, the threat to us and our neighbours in Europe.
"With al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb growing in ability and ambition, a collective failure to act might well manifest in attacks closer to home."