Counter-terrorism operation takes place across capital

London Police and Ambulance respond to an incident. Pic: Kenjonbro

Pic: Kenjonbro

A counter terrorism exercise took place in Tower Hamlets on Wednesday as part of an operation conducted across the capital by security forces.

The exercise, performed by the National Counter-Terrorism Exercise Programme, was part of Operation Strong Tower and tested the emergency service’s capability to deal with terrorist attacks.

Wood Wharf, currently the site for an intended residential development in Canary Wharf, was one of the sites used in the mock terror attack that Scotland Yard had planned since January.

The exercise, part of operation Strong Tower, involved over 1000 people from the police, military, emergency services and intelligence agencies to simulate potential mass-shooting style attacks in London. A poignant exercise just days after 38 British holidaymakers were killed by a gunman in Tunisia.

Gunshots, loud bangs and puffs of pink smoke could be heard and seen as part of the operation as actors, that pretended to be injured, were dragged from the attack sites.

The Metropolitan Police were keen to point out that there has been no specific threat to the capital. The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK, however, is set at “severe”, meaning “an attack is highly likely” according to MI5’s website.

Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “As people will be aware, the threat level for terrorism has been raised over the last year and it is vital that we train and we learn.

“We’ve got lots of good leaders and lots of well trained people who are able to respond to the terrorist threat. The reason we have these exercises is to make sure we are well trained.”

Manoeuvres, such as yesterday’s, are legally bound to take place under the Civil Contingencies Act in an effort to ensure that government agencies and emergency services are prepared for the worst case scenario should a terrorist attack occur.

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