COMMENT: Terrorism - The Realities

COMMENT: Terrorism - The Realities

Our defence analyst Christopher Lee has taken a look at the realities of terrorism in the UK...

COMMENT: Terrorism - The Realities

By Christopher Lee.

Murderous terrorism in the UK is sadly easy work. It doesn't take much intelligence to rent a van and pick up a knife. 

MI5 and the police are trying to monitor 23,000 potential terrorists, something that cannot be done.

It takes nothing more than one man with a breadknife to give out his war cry, stab the nearest innocent, COBRA meets and it is called terrorism. 

That means it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

The Prime Minister stands in her Downing Street theatre, complete with the backlit Number Ten door for authority and says "Enough of this. It’s got to stop!"

It’s the sort of thing nannies shout out when the kiddies have wrecked the nursery.

When the Islamic State war was "a successful regional Middle East conflict" in the name of the caliphate, a bunch of the home-growns would have made their way via Turkey to join the jihadi. 

Today, Islamic State is pinned down in Mosul and Raqqa and the wars are going wrong for them.

So they have sent out messages to European countries, in particular, to stay at home and do the sort of thing we saw in July in Nice and on three occasions recently in the UK - Westminster, Manchester and now London Bridge and Borough Market.

The message was easy: keep it simple.

Which is what has happened and what could just as easily happen again today, tomorrow, the next day.

Talk to the security agencies and the police and there is an even more dramatic scenario anticipated but not voiced publicly.

The police killed the three terrorists within eight minutes of getting the alarm call.

Here’s the frightener: what happens when, say, ten white vans hit pubs with drinkers spilled onto London’s streets.

Ten massacres. Ten emergency services called out. Ten shootings.

That’s not unlikely and shows two things clearly: ad hoc hits are almost impossible to anticipate and secondly, the public could easily lose its nerve.

Mrs May will take the blame for getting rid of 20,000 police men and women - a vital defence against what we are now seeing.

But not even a Prime Minister can rustle up 20,000 officers at a moment’s notice.

The have to be found, paid for, trained. It’s a two-year process and is only part of the test.

When Mrs May says this sort of atrocity has to stop, it is nothing more than a political stamping of the foot to cover up thus far incompetence. 

Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and her colleagues in the security agencies know that what’s going on cannot be stopped because the PM says she’s had enough.

IS has not had enough.

This is the moment when Commissioner Dick and her colleagues can go to the PM to dig her out of a political hole and demand what they know they need - and that’s just the start of it.

Terrorism is easy work - counter-terrorism is not, even during Election Week.

Christopher Lee is the Forces Radio, BFBS Defence Analyst. He can be heard every week on the only radio programme devoted to discussing matters of defence and security, Sitrep. To listen head here, to download click here.