Counter terrorism police will board London buses in new effort to prevent attack

Counter terrorism police will board London buses in new effort to prevent attack

Counter terrorism police backed by armed officers will board London buses and check other vehicles in a new effort to prevent an attack in the capital.

Officers will also patrol at bus stops, bus stations and transport interchanges to make it harder for would-be terrorists to move around the city.

Sniffer dogs and automatic number plate recognition technology will be deployed in a further measure to detect threats, while police will monitor movements at key locations  from CCTV control rooms.

The new drive to strengthen public protection follows a warning by the country’s most senior counter terrorism officer, Met Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, that the number of investigations being carried out by his teams has reached a record high within the past two weeks.

The official threat level has also been raised to “severe” – meaning an attack is judged to be highly likely – following the recent attacks in France and Vienna.

The new transport patrols, which will supplement those already carried out at railway and Tube stations and on busy shopping streets, will be carried out by a new “Project Servator” team set up by the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command.

Announcing the move, Met Inspector James Beattie said: “The introduction of specially-trained Project Servator officers will make life even more difficult for potential terrorists and criminals to operate across London’s roads and transport network.

“Don’t be surprised if you see us. It is nothing to worry about and we will be talking to members of the public and urging them to help us. Defeating terrorism requires a collective community effort where police, security staff, retail workers and the public come together to minimise the chance of attacks. The cooperation between the public and the police is a powerful defence against terrorism.”

Officers in involved in the new patrols will also encourage members of the public and business owners to be alert and report anything that they believe is suspicious.

Project Servator is a long-running counter terrorism policing operation to detect and disrupt terrorism and other criminal activity and involves officers trained to spot the signs of terrorists carrying out reconnaissance or behaving in other ways which indicate intent to attack.