Two of Britain’s top police officers shared their operational counter-terrorism experience at a major conference in Israel.
The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations Mark Rowley and City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland spoke at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s (ICT) 17th World Summit yesterday. They spoke about the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.
Rowley said the UK’s modern counter-terror strategy was “always trying to build on the back of a community policing approach”.
He also placed a strong emphasis on the relationship between police and intelligence agencies, saying that on anti-terror issues they act as “one unit” with “complete transparency”.
The Assistant commissioner outlined the “diversity of challenges we’re facing – teenagers who want to be suicide bombers, people directed online from Syria, lone attacks inspired by propaganda and the extreme right wing”.
He said that the police are no longer tackling classic command structures but “are now dealing with dispersed networks, simple methods requiring little planning and easily accessible equipment that are inspired not directed”.
He referred to this new situation as a “hybrid threat”, and described three interconnected domains; the very local, the online and the international arena.
He said online “propaganda is a major threat” and that he was encouraged to hear Facebook’s intention to remove terrorist propaganda content and hopes a plan will follow.
During his presentation Rowley revealed that there had been an increase in attempted terror attacks, saying that this year there had been 10 attempted attacked in just 17 weeks.
Rowley stressed the importance of international relationships declaring you need a “network to defeat a network” .
Also addressing the conference, the City of London Police’s Alastair Sutherland said that it was “imperative you rehearse for scenarios the intelligence community has warned about” and noted that “for the first time ever, the military were brought onto UK streets after the Manchester attack to support policing”.