Monday, 16 November 2015

The Terrorist Threat

The events in Paris have sent shockwaves around the world and for some it's been a wake up call.

I, along with my colleagues, stood respectfully and not only observed a minutes silence at midday today (French time) in order to remember those lost in the cowardly attacks on Friday but also to contemplate the wider implications of what those attacks meant.

We are not fighting a visible enemy. These terrorists are all over the world fighting under a false banner of Islam.

Let me get one thing clear. These people are not fighting a religious war. They are fighting a war of terror and religion has nothing to do with it.

I have met hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslims during my career and they, like everyone else, denounce this violence. There should be no retaliatory attacks on Mosques or Muslim individuals. That is not the answer and will simply provide Islamic State with the fuel that they want.

What MUST happen is that we all unite regardless of race, religion or ethnic background in order to overcome these terrorists.

Even now when I turn on my TV the news is full of Islamic State. We are giving them the airtime they want and spreading their propaganda. Whilst I accept that the events of Friday are international news and it is going to receive media coverage (and rightly so given what happened) I sincerely hope that there is a lot happening behind the scenes in order to identify and neutralise the future threats.

Our attention now turns to the friendly football game between England and France on Tuesday evening. Security, understandably, has been stepped up with the promise of more armed officers on the streets to ensure a peaceful event.

Is that enough? What if the attack, when it happens as it surely will, happens elsewhere? Do we have sufficient response measures in place?

The response that our brothers and sisters provided in France was amazing. They are very well equipped and showed it. It's extremely saddening that such measures needed to be taken. Could we, in the UK, respond as impressively as the French?

The reality is that we have so few firearms officers outside of the capital that without time to mobilise it is highly likely that our unarmed officers, me included, will be first at the scene of such a terrorist attack.

I am sure that I do not only speak for myself but my thousands of colleagues in that if it came to giving my life in order to save the life of just one member of the public then that is a choice I would make. I signed up to protect the public and to fight crime. Whether that be Joe Bloggs beating up his partner, stealing from the local supermarket or pulling out a Kalashnikov then I'm there and will do my utmost to ensure that innocent members of the public can live their lives without fear.

Islamic State you will not defeat us. We are united against you.



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