30 Jun 2015

Major anti-terror drill on central London’s streets

A mock terrorist firearms attack is being staged in the capital today to test the response to a Tunisian-style mass shooting

A major counter-terrorism exercise is being carried out in London to ensure emergency services are ready “should the worst happen”, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe has said.

Operation Strong Tower is the largest-ever terror attack drill to be staged in London. Over a thousand police officers, emergency services, soldiers and intelligence officials were placed at secret locations around the capital this morning to respond to terrorist scenarios.

The two-day exercise includes testing the emergency service response to a simulated attack at Aldwych tube station. Actors were seen on Tuesday being given mock CPR and first aid by armed police as they lay on the pavement outside the station.

The drill is designed to simulate an emerging type of gun attack terrorism and is influenced by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris and the Lindt café hostage siege in Sydney.

It comes just days after gunmen killed 37 tourists on a Tunisian beach, but Scotland Yard stressed that Operation Strong Tower took six months to plan and was in no way prompted by last week’s massacre.

Terror threat:

The rate of arrests for terror offences has increased in the last year, according to Sir Bernard Hogan Howe.

“It is clear during that time that we’ve disrupted some very serious plots and some of those cases are going to the courts. The reason we have exercises like today is because, obviously, we are concerned there are people planning terrorist events.

“We intend first of all to stop them from getting to attack. But should we not stop the terrorists in their planning, it’s essential we disrupt them in any of the attacks that may take place.

The rehersal continues on Wednesday.