Bombers who left a device at a hotel ahead of a police recruitment event in Northern Ireland are "contemptible", the Secretary of State said.
The attackers intended to stop recruits from making the country a better place, Theresa Villiers added.
The explosive was discovered on Friday at the Waterfoot Hotel in Londonderry. A controlled explosion was carried out.
A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recruitment session is due to be held at the hotel next week.
Ms Villiers said: "This device was intended to cause injury and sought to stop those people who want to secure a career in policing to serve their community and make Northern Ireland a better place.
"It is a potent reminder of the threat the police and public still face from terrorism.
"The contemptible actions of those behind this incident are an affront to everyone who wants a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland."
Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process have killed a number of police officers in the past. Catholic officers have been particular targets.
Police have said the threat level is severe and are on high alert for more attacks.
Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said: "This device had the potential to harm anyone in the area and those involved have shown total disregard for human life.
"We are obviously very thankful that this attack was thwarted and that no one was killed or seriously injured.
"Clearly there are people out there in today's society who are still intent on targeting our police service and causing harm to our communities.
"We know, however, that the actions of these few misguided individuals will not stop people pursuing a career in policing."
Police have received approximately 2,400 applications in this current recruitment process.
The force is under pressure from financial cuts and faces making more savings as the political deadlock at Stormont affects all public spending.
Sinn Fein Stormont Assembly member Raymond McCartney said: "Those responsible for this bomb have nothing whatsoever to offer the people of Derry.
"Not only have they brought disruption to the city, they have also endangered the safety of hotel staff, guests, customers and passers by.
"Their reckless actions are so far out of touch with the views of the vast majority of the people of Derry.
"They need to listen to the voice of the people and end these futile actions immediately.
"These actions will not stop Sinn Fein from continuing to work to deliver transparent and accountable policing for the entire community."