LFB welcomes Lord Toby Harris’ counter-terrorism review

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The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has welcomed the findings of Lord Toby Harris’ comprehensive review into London’s preparedness for a terror attack, which was commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan last July.

The review process took place against the backdrop of the changing nature of the terrorist threat to the capital. At the time, this included an increase in online extremism, an increase in referrals to Prevent for concerns about far-right radicalization, more individuals self-radicalizing and learning terrorism techniques online, and the increasing possibility of hostile state-sponsored acts against the capital. .

The Mayor of London has also asked Lord Harris to consider any implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for London’s immediate and long-term preparedness for a major terrorist incident. This included identifying areas of vulnerability based on how the pandemic has changed the way people live and work, in addition to the impact of government-imposed lockdowns on broader awareness and expertise in matters of security.

Lord Harris’ second review follows his previous assessment commissioned by the Mayor of London in 2016, which resulted in more than 100 recommendations to better prepare the capital for a terror attack (the majority of which have since been implemented).

In preparing for this latest review, Lord Harris worked with London’s emergency services, the transport sector, local government and officials from several central government departments to review processes, understand new threats and challenges and identify areas where further progress could be made. He also met with representatives from the faith, voluntary, community and business sectors to discuss the role of London’s diverse communities in preparing for and dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

critical role

Pat Goulbourne, LFB Assistant Commissioner for Operational Resilience and Control, said: “We welcome Lord Toby Harris’ report and echo the recognition that the Brigade plays a vital role in preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks. The improvements in London’s ability to deal with terrorist attacks are largely due to the unwavering dedication and commitment to change of our own staff members and, indeed, the joint response of blue partners.

Goulbourne continued: “As outlined in the report, we are investing resources to ensure that our firefighters are fully prepared to respond to marauding terrorist attacks, in partnership with colleagues from the emergency services. This will further improve our response to terrorist incidents when they occur and also increase the safety of members of the public, which is at the heart of what we do.

Additionally, Goulbourne observed: “Working with the firefighters’ union, we will ensure that the highest standard of training is provided and also that the appropriate level of PPE is made available to our firefighters. First line”.

According to Goulbourne, the Brigade has “learned important lessons” from the 2017 terrorist attacks on the Brigade in London, Westminster, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green and will continue to adapt and transform according to the threat to the capital. . He concluded: “We will study in detail the report and the recommendations that will be made to us.

Main conclusions

During his review process, Lord Harris found notable improvements in communication and coordination by emergency services and partner agencies, with substantial learning taking place following the tragic terrorist attacks in the capital and elsewhere during this period.

His report also notes the exceptional levels of cooperation that now exist between the Metropolitan Police Service, the British Transport Police and the City of London Police, all of which are so crucial to protecting Londoners in the event of a terrorist attack.


In total, Lord Harris made 294 new recommendations which focus on several key areas. These include ensuring that emergency services are properly funded and fully equipped, providing and refreshing specialist training for relevant teams to deal with specific types of attacks and improving information sharing. information between individuals and groups with a role to play in keeping London safe. Many of the recommendations represent simple adjustments to existing processes.

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