Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says the threat from terrorism is very real
In a blog post, commissioner points out dangers and preventive measures being taken
London’s top police officer warns that the risk of a terror attack in the United Kingdom is a case of “when, not if.”
In light of the recent wave of worldwide terror attacks, Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said on the police’s official blog Sunday he believes the threat from terrorism is very real and expresses “a greater sense of fear that Britain will be the next victim.”
In the event of a terrorist attack, he wrote, the police advise the public to “Run, Hide, Tell.”
He elaborated on this guidance in comments to the London Evening Standard newspaper.
“It may seem blindingly obvious, but some people don’t run, they will duck down where they are, do all sorts of different things in the panic,” he said.
“So let’s be really clear – run as far away as possible and when you can’t run any further, hide, and then tell – call the police because we’ve got the people, the resources, the firearms to deal with it,” he told the paper. “It’s very straightforward.”
‘Lots of things working in our favor’
Despite the threat level in the United Kingdom being at “severe” since 2014, Hogan-Howe wrote that the British “way of life and culture” have been instrumental in preventing terrorist attacks similar to those seen across Europe, most recently in Nice and Normandy, France; Brussels, Belgium; and Wurzburg and Ansbach, Germany.
The world watched “the recent terrorist atrocities unfold with a terrifying and depressing sense of horror and dread,” the commissioner said. But amid growing public concern in the United Kingdom, he said there are “lots of things working in our favor.”
Hogan-Howe praised police’s close working relationship with the MI5 and MI6 intelligence services as a “world-beater” that has given Britain “an advantage in intelligence and ultimately foiling plots.” Strict gun control laws also deter violence in Britain, the commissioner said.
Number of firearms officers boosted
In the blog post the commissioner points out the United Kingdom has a social climate of “tolerance and acceptance” that is “united in defeating terrorism.”
“We don’t stigmatize the millions of British Muslims whose values and faith completely reject the terrorists’ litany of hate,” Hogan-Howe said.
In an effort to prevent a large-scale terror attack similar to Paris in November, in which 130 people died, police have increased the overall number of firearms officers in the country by 600 – to a total of 2,800, Hogan-Howe said.
He acknowledged in his closing remarks that his message might not be reassuring to some, but encouraged people to be defiant in preserving their beliefs, values and way of life.
“We will not become like them, we will not hate, we will not be cowed and because of this they will never win,” he wrote.
CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Tim Hume contributed to this report.