Concrete blocks protect Parliament from terror attack

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Security around the Houses of Parliament and across London was beefed up today to improve defences against the threat of terrorism.

Concrete blocks were placed by the road outside the Palace of Westminster overnight and extra security measures were being planned by the Metropolitan Police.

A Scotland Yard spokesman stressed the moves were part of continuing security considerations and there had been no specific terror threat.

The blocks, to protect from terrorist vehicles, were erected last night at the start of the Whitsun recess and will remain in place for the foreseeable future, parliamentary officials said.

The Yard spokesman refused to discuss what further defences were being considered but some reports said security as Heathrow Airport was being upgraded.

Security at Parliament has been tight since the September 11 attacks in the US, with armed police on guard outside the main entrances.

Chairman of the Lords administration Lord Brabazon of Tara announced, in a written reply: "The security of the Palace (of Westminster) remains under constant review in the light of the changing assessment of the terrorist threat.

"They form part of a more general strengthening of security being carried out in central London on a precautionary basis in the light of world events, and action being taken in other countries similarly under threat of terrorist attack."

The Scotland Yard spokesman said security was being put in place in Westminster "as part of a continuing process to provide increased security across London".

"This is to ensure the protection of those people who visit, live and work in the capital," he continued.

"These measures are being carried out on a precautionary basis in light of events around the world and the fact that security in the capital remains at a high level.

"There is no specific intelligence of places, events or people in the UK that would lead us at the moment to issue specific warnings to the public.

"We will continue to take whatever action we believe is necessary to protect and reassure the public.

"As part of a counter-terrorist strategy the MPS undertakes different operations which includes high visibility policing.

"We want to reassure Londoners that their safety is our primary concern.

"While our message is still 'alert not alarm', we would reiterate our earlier appeals for the public to remain vigilant and aware and report anything suspicious to police."