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London Mayor Sadiq Khan orders fresh security review

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sadiq Khan (R) has a close relationship with Labor Party peer Lord Toby Harris of Haringey (L)

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has ordered a new security review into the capital’s vulnerabilities to terror attacks and their impact in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The review will be led by security expert Lord Toby Harris, who is close to multiple security bodies in the UK, including the Metropolitan Police.

Lord Harris’ review will reportedly examine to what extent (if any) the pandemic has adversely impacted the capital’s resilience to major terror attacks.

In addition, the fresh review will scrutinize potential “learning points” from recent terror attacks in the capital including the stabbing attack in Fishmongers’s Hall in November 2019 in which two people were killed.     

As part of a previous security review in 2016, Lord Harris recommended the Home office consider combining the Metropolitan Police, the City of London Police and the British Transport Police, as part of a broader effort of enhancing counter-terrorism capability and resilience.  

In justifying the fresh review, the Mayor said “extremists” had misused the internet during successive pandemic-related lockdowns to “spread disinformation as well as attempting to radicalize the vulnerable to commit violent acts”.  

"We must adapt and strengthen our city's capability to prepare and respond to the evolving threat of terrorism and the impact of the pandemic", Khan added.

For his part, Lord Harris warned that the nature of the terrorist threat to London and the rest of the UK has “altered”.  

"The purpose of this review is to take stock of where we are now and whether there are additional steps that should be taken to help ensure the safety of Londoners", Lord Harris said.


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