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The effects of last year’s wave of terrorist attacks in Europe are still felt among security authorities, who are busy defining new tactics to confront the present challenges.
Neil Basu, the new senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing in the UK, said border checks should include fingerprint and other various scans, while passports had to be made tamper-proof. Basu explained the enormous attacks on Paris a year ago highlight major problems and present new challenges for those defending their country from terrorists.
He said: “The terrorist tactics are very different now. They are not interested in negotiation, they are not interested in warnings. They are very interested in the maximum amount of terror, damage and economic and physical and emotional carnage.”
The attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead, were carried out with terrifying simplicity and left UK anti-terror officers reviewing their approach. Mr Basu said: “Paris woke us up to the fact this could be in Europe. And in a major capital city not a couple of hundred miles from our shores, from our own capital city”.
He told the Telegraph that since the attacks, UK police had travelled abroad to gather intelligence and had worked on plans to better protect crowded places. In addition, more firearms officers are being recruited and trained to the same standards as Special Forces soldiers.
In addition, every police force in England and Wales will have access to anti-terror units. The units will have state-of-the-art weapons and be trained to conduct raids against extremists.
Until now only larger forces, including the Met in London, Greater Manchester and Thames Valley Police have had counter-terrorist specialists available for “use”. But sources have said, according to the Daily Star, that from now on, all 43 forces in England and Wales will get access to them.
While smaller forces such as Dorset, Devon and Cornwall may share the same units, most will have their own specialists ready for action around the clock. Recently, members of the new CT teams, which will be equipped with SIG 516 semi-automatic carbines and Glock 9mm sidearms, were training in London. They trained and improved their skills to storm buildings in mock attacks. The Police will also be trained in hostage rescue operations and to carry out sniper attacks against armed terrorists. The cops will also be trained to carry out water borne assaults from rigid hull inflatable vessels and even abseil into situations from hovering helicopters.
One source said: “ until now the Met has led the way in counter-terrorist operations but every police force must be able to respond to a terrorist incident. MI5 believes that jihadists are now based in every major town and city in the UK”.