Mayor brings security experts together to help keep Londoners safe

25 July 2016

City Hall will today host a meeting between security experts, including the Met police and London’s boroughs, as part of ongoing work to ensure London is as prepared as possible to respond to the threat of a terrorist attack.


Sadiq Khan has made keeping Londoners safe a top priority. The London At Critical event is one of a number of meetings that are regularly held between the Met and London’s businesses and council chiefs to oversee the implementation of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy in London.


Among those at today’s meeting will be Lord Toby Harris of Haringey, who the Mayor has appointed to carry out a full and urgent review into London agencies’ ability to cope with multiple simultaneous incidents.


The meeting is organised by the London CONTEST Board, which was created by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) together with the Met and London Councils last year.


Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime said: “The Mayor’s top priority is keeping Londoners safe, and partnership working is vital to ensure a fast, effective and streamlined multi-agency response in the event of a terrorist attack. Events like this provide the opportunity to play out scenarios and share information, helping to ensure London is able to cope should the worst happen.


“As well as ensuring our uniformed services are prepared for all scenarios, we are also working closely with the police and local communities to root out extremism, stop the spread of vile ideologies and encourage the integration of communities across the capital.”


Attendees will include Chief Executives from all London Authorities, alongside representatives from the police and other key agencies. Councillor Lib Peck from London Councils will speak about

the importance of London leadership and partnership working, and Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime Sophie Linden will set out the Mayor’s priorities on keeping London safe. Lord Toby Harris will also address the meeting.


Lord Toby Harris, who has a long and distinguished career overseeing counter-terrorism and security both in London and at a national level, said: “Our agencies and emergency services work hard every single day to keep Londoners safe. Meetings like today’s are vital as part of our ongoing contingency plans and to see whether existing arrangements can be made even more robust.


“The review on London’s terror preparedness is intended to be thorough and wide-ranging, and events like this will help inform it, so as to provide the Mayor with advice on any action that needs to be taken.”


The London CONTEST Board builds on the work of the government’s Prevent Strategy, which aims to tackle radicalisation and extremism, and the London Resilience Forum, which helps organisations to share information and expertise.


Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “The Met is constantly testing and exercising London's preparedness and this will continue for as long as the threat level remains at severe - meaning an attack is highly likely. We are working with London's local authorities and other key partners to test our preparedness in the event of a successful attack getting through.


“This is part of the UK's ongoing contingency planning which the public would expect us to fulfil at this time of heightened threat.


“The Met and national counter terrorism policing network are working tirelessly with partners to confront the terrorist threat. This includes arresting those who are planning, preparing or funding terrorism; working with communities to prevent people being drawn into violent extremism, and carrying out protective security operations to make London and the UK a hostile environment for terrorists to operate in.


“Today's event is a key part of our work to protect Londoners and keep them safe.”


Attendees will also take part in a workshop exploring the challenges Local Authorities would face in the wake of a terrorist attack, and how they would respond.


Cllr Lib Peck, London Councils’ Executive member for crime and public protection, said: “London’s boroughs are keen to play their part in ensuring the impact of any increased threat level is kept to a minimum, working with partners across London including the Mayor, the emergency services, the NHS and businesses to share resources, information and expertise. In times of crisis, trusted local leadership is vital.”

Notes to editors

-         The London At Critical event is not open to the public.


-         London CONTEST Board was created by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) in partnership with London Councils and the Metropolitan Police.