Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

UK attack not ruled out - Europol

The European Union's law enforcement agency said today that the UK public can be reassured by increased security measures on the streets but admitted a terrorist attack cannot be ruled out.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, said: "Stopping everything is very difficult, containing the threat fully is very difficult, but I'm sure we will prevail, as we have prevailed against other forms of terrorism in the past."

Asked on Sky News whether he was saying there was no guarantee attacks such as those in Paris could be stopped, he said: "No, there can't be, otherwise what happened in Paris wouldn't have happened. I think there is a realisation across the police and security community in Europe.

"But at the same time we have a very strong determination to maximise our capability to keep our citizens safe."

He said the scale of the problem had increased over the last 10 years. The terrorists no longer had a coherent, identifiable command and control structure such as in the past.

"But over those 10 years, the sophistication of the police response has also increased."

Mr Wainwright has said that at least 2,500 and possibly up to 5,000 people have travelled from Europe to conflicts in Syria and Iraq and might have been radicalised.

His comments came after Prime Minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama held talks in Washington on how to tackle the terrorist threat.

Mr Cameron pushed for tougher requirements for internet firms to alert authorities to suspicious online exchanges, ban encrypted communications and store data.

A report last year into the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby concluded that Facebook failed to pass on information that could have prevented his death.

The American firm had previously shut down accounts belonging to one of the killers, Michael Adebowale, because he had discussed terrorism - but did not raise concerns with the security services.

The two leaders agreed to establish a new joint group to exchange information and expertise on countering the rise of violent extremism.

Asked how big the encrypted communication problem was, Mr Wainwright said: "We've been engaged at Europol in combating various forms of cyber crime online for the last two years or more. It's clear that the internet is becoming of increasing utility to criminal networks.

"The nature of encrypted communication makes it more difficult for police to intercept this communication online than to intercept telephone communication in the real world."


From Belfast Telegraph