A major exercise to test the emergency services and Government response to a terrorist attack will be held in central London over the next two days.
The exercise - named Operation Strong Tower - will test the response to terrorists armed with firearms.
London police say the operation has been planned for over six months and it is part of the Government’s regular National Counter Terrorism Programme of exercises.
Today, the tactical response on the ground has been visible to media and passers-by outside the disused Aldwych underground station in Surrey Street, WC2. Surrey Street is closed to traffic for the day.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner, who is the Exercise Director, said: “Testing and exercising is a really important way to ensure that our plans to respond to a major incident or terrorist attack are as good as they can be. We put huge effort into our planning and want to test how we all work together.
“The exercise scenario will test our tactical response including working with our emergency services partners, containing the situation, evacuating the injured and managing a crime scene.
“We’ve carefully planned the live play elements of this exercise to make sure that any disruption to the public is kept to a minimum.”
The exercise will finish tomorrow afternoon. Officers have been briefing local communities and businesses on the exercise and what they may see and hear.
A full debrief will be carried out after the exercise to make sure that any learning is properly captured.
DAC de Brunner said: “Sadly, London is no stranger to terrorism. Given the changing nature of the very real terrorism threat and events around the world we need to constantly adapt our plans and prepare for new or emerging threats."
“What is vitally important to all the agencies involved, who work together everyday, and to Londoners is that when the worst happens we are prepared to be the very best we can. We have sound plans and highly dedicated, brave staff that Londoners can be confident in.”