Threat to 'kidnap and kill' serving police officer sparks West Midlands Police alert

Officers in Birmingham are undertaking extra security measures today

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The Independent Online

Extremists have reportedly threatened to kidnap and murder a British police officer, sparking a security crackdown around Birmingham.

West Midlands Police said they received “anonymous information” on Monday about the threat to staff but did not give any more details.

Officers were told not to wear their complete uniform travelling to and from work and given extra security briefings as entry to police stations was tightened.

A spokesperson for the force reassured the public that patrols continued in Britain’s second city and across the county but warned that the threat was “severe”.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “West Midlands Police treat all information relating to matters of security extremely seriously.

“In this particular case we have received information relating to the safety of West Midlands Police officers and police staff. There is nothing at this time to suggest there is an increased risk to members of the public.

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Police officers guard a Birmingham road after anti-terror arrests in 2007

“We have taken the opportunity to remind all employees of the need to be vigilant. Our priority remains serving our communities and protecting them from harm. Officers remain on patrol and our staff continue to respond to calls for service as usual.”

Birmingham was the scene of a 2007 failed plot to kidnap and behead a British soldier.

Reports of the threat come after five men were charged with plotting to kill police officers or soldiers on the streets of London earlier this year.

Members of the gang allegedly swore allegiance to Isis and scouted out Shepherd's Bush police station and White City Territorial Army Barracks on a “hostile reconnaissance” mission on Google Streetview.

They allegedly kept Instagram images of two Scotland Yard police officers and two Metropolitan Police community support officers, as well as a trove of jihadist material including videos of beheadings.

In October, the threat level to police officers across the country was raised to substantial, meaning a targeted attack is a strong possibility and the national level remains at “severe”.

Theresa May said 40 terror plots have been foiled by British security services since the 7/7 bombings in 2005, as she unveiled a new counter-terrorism bill.

The foiled plots include a planned Mumbai-style gun attack, the planned murder of members of the armed forces, an attempt to bring down a plane, and an attempt to assassinate an ambassador.

Isis, which is fighting to establish a hardline Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria, has called on its supporters to mount attacks in their home countries.

Additional reporting by PA