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Attack on UK highly likely, most senior police officer says

posted 4 May 2011, 14:51 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 4 May 2011, 14:53 ]

An attack on the United Kingdom is highly likely and could occur without warning at any time, Britain's most senior police officer, Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Service Sir Paul Stephenson has warned.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 4, 2011) UK POOL - Britain's most senior police officer on Wednesday (May 4) warned that despite Osama bin Laden's death, an attack on the UK is highly likely and could occur without warning at any time.

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul 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, he said.

"It is clear that there can be no let up in our vigilance," he added.

Stephenson said "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 Qaeda, its affiliates and those acting alone," Stephenson warned.

Stephenson said urged members of the public to report "any suspicious behaviour which may be terrorist-related".

"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," Stephenson said.

Stephenson was delivering the John Creaney memorial lecture at the Policy Exchange think-tank in central London.