UK & World News

  • 11 April 2013, 1:23

Thatcher Funeral: Police Search Web For Threats

Police are braced for potential threats to the Thatcher funeral from far-Left groups, obsessive individuals and Irish dissident republicans.

Detectives are scouring internet chatrooms and social media networks for any hint of planned demonstrations and trying to identify individuals who may pose a threat.

In the past police have made pre-emptive arrests, but sources suggest that is unlikely unless there is strong evidence of crimes about to be committed.

A source said: "Someone simply talking about a desire to cause trouble would not be enough to justify an arrest."

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC), a small group of police and psychiatrists,  is monitoring known Thatcher obsessives.

They are concerned about those with mental health  issues who have fallen through the care net.

Scotland Yard's counter-terror chief warned recently that dissident  republicans active in Northern Ireland continue to harbour ambitions to launch attacks on the UK mainland.

On the day of the funeral, thousands of uniformed officers will line the route to protect the cortege from any disruption.

Operation True Blue will involve officers from the Metropolitan force, the City of London and British Transport Police.

The security details are being discussed and updated at daily meetings, though the broad plan was formulated more than a year ago.

Within minutes of the announcement of Baroness Thatcher's death on Monday, all new police leave applications were turned down.

Teams of mobile reserves will be on standby for any outbreak of violence, but there are no plans to bring in colleagues from outside London.

One major, unrelated police operation planned for the day of the funeral has been postponed to ensure the maximum number of officers is available.

Forces around the country are also preparing for potential demonstrations, after a wave of "death parties" on Monday night in Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow and Northern Ireland.