Police chief warns UK terrorist attack 'likely'
Published 06/05/2011 | 05:00
AN attack on the UK is highly likely and could occur without warning at any time, Britain's most senior police officer warned last night.
Commissioner Paul Stephenson said it was vital that communities remained vigilant, and urged members of the public to "trust their instincts" and report "any suspicious behaviour which may be terrorist-related".
"Vigilance should be our watchword," he said.
Mr Stephenson said the "severe" threat from international terrorism was "not a bureaucratic description, but rather a factual assessment of the reality of the threat we face".
"To be blunt, it means that an attack is highly likely and could occur without warning at any time. Osama bin Laden led an organisation which is responsible for the injury and death of thousands of people worldwide in the name of an extreme and perverted ideology, committed to the use of terror and murder to achieve their aims.
"However, one man's death does not mark the end of an ideology and we must remain alert to the continuing threat from al Qa'ida, its affiliates and those acting alone.
"The police and security services will continue to work locally, nationally and with our international partners to do everything possible to counter the terrorist threat.
"But we cannot do this alone, we need the help of the public to protect the country from the threat of terrorism.
"All communities across the United Kingdom have a vital role to play. As they go about their daily business, vigilance should be our watchword," he said.