Counter Terrorism Blog

Counter Terrorism Blog

The Changing Threat

In mid-January this year we saw a terror attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reminiscent of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack it bore striking similarities. Six attackers armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades killed 22 people at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel and it took the Afghan military 12 hours to bring the siege to an end.

Responsible for that attack was a name seldom heard since the UK and US military operations in Afghanistan ceased. That name? The Taliban.

With the focus after the Afghanistan conflict on the fight against Al Qaeda, and latterly the rise of Islamic State we can be forgiven for thinking that the Taliban had all but been eradicated or faded into obscurity... it would seem not and reinforces the fact that the terror threat is constantly evolving and changing.

Murder Attempt on Ex Russian Agent

This week saw Counter Terrorism officers drafted into Wiltshire to assist in the investigation of a suspected nerve agent attack on former Russian Intelligence Service Colonel Sergei Skripal.

Comparisons are already being made with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Although there is speculation in the media as to who is behind the attack we should be careful to avoid speculation until the police have carried out their investigation, an investigation that will be based on facts and not rumours, and this also includes the report on the substance used which has yet to be made public.

Also, with a police officer critically ill in hospital it is a reminder that such incidents, however rare, pose a serious threat to first responders and our emergency services.

Be Alert, Not Alarmed

Sound advice - “Be Alert, Not Alarmed”, but what does that mean? I tend to read it backwards starting with the last part, the not being alarmed part. We all now accept that life has changed over the past few years with the terror threat posed to the UK and we have had to adapt accordingly. But don’t be afraid to go about your daily business, don’t be afraid to travel, to use public transport, to visit tourist attractions and iconic sites.

Then look at the first part, “Be Alert”. Be alert to the terror threat, lookout for suspicious items and behaviour, and what to do about it should you see something suspicious. Know what’s not quite right, what is out of the ordinary, and have the confidence to act, whether that be by challenging it, reporting it to police or by putting a call in to the anti-terror hotline*

UK Counter Terror and Security Expo

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to attend the UK Counter Terror Expo at the Olympia in London. Held over two days of the 6th and 7th of March, it was a fantastic event with conferences and exhibitors from the world of Critical National Infrastructure, Cyber Security, Major Event Security, Policing and Specialist Ops, Airport Security, and Secure Design.

I also spoke at the Ambition Conference on day two of the event, giving a talk on Approaches to Strengthening SME Business Resilience to Major Incidents. Daunting task talking to a group of your peers, but I hope that those who attended my presentation took something away from it.

On display also were some really good CCTV products from a wide variety of companies. With that in mind I would advise businesses to invest in the best quality CCTV you can. Not only does it protect your business and your premises, but it greatly helps to deter terrorist and aids the police and security services post incident with investigations. This last point proved vital in adding pieces to the jigsaw with the post incident investigations following the Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks.


*If you’re concerned about suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood or have information you believe may help the police, please call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline.

The number is 0800 789 321.

You do not have to give your name and all information received via the hotline is confidential.

Information that might seem insignificant on its own could prove vital in a wider investigation.


If you have any more questions please email our SOC & CT Lead David MacCrimmon.

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