Paris terror attack: British port and border security stepped up in wake of shooting


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Security has been stepped up at British ports and border controls in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attack in Paris, Downing Street announced today.

Cars and lorries will face  greater scrutiny in Calais and British ports and there will be tighter controls at UK passport checkpoints including the Gare du Nord station in Paris and other Eurostar terminals.

The measures were reported to a meeting of Cobra, the Whitehall emergency committee, chaired by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.  They were not ordered by ministers but were implemented by police and security chiefs yesterday after the Paris attack.

Today’s meeting was told that the security threat level in the UK will remain at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely. It will not be raised to “critical”, the highest level, which means an attack is considered imminent.

The Cobra session was also informed that a Metropolitan Police officer will join a UK counter-terrorism team already working in Paris to co-ordinate a response to the Paris atrocity.

The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said: “The intelligence does not suggest there is any change in the threat level here [in the UK] but on a precautionary basis we have tightened up border security, particularly at our juxtaposed controls. For example at ports people going through them will see increased car and truck searches, a bit more scanning of freight.

"They will also see an increased visible presence, for example at our juxtaposed control at Gare du Nord in Paris. This is about looking at what we think is appropriate given the incident, but is not based on any change to the threat level."

British Transport said it would be increasing its patrols at London St Pancras rail station, where Eurostar trains from Paris terminate.

A spokesman said: “Since 2012, we have deployed armed officers within London.

“The safety of rail passengers and staff is of paramount importance to us, and we want to provide a reassuring, visible armed presence to deter terrorism on the rail network.

“In light of the events in Paris, we have increased patrols at St Pancras, in order to maintain and provide enhanced visibility and reassurance to the public. We keep our security arrangements under constant review.”

Number 10 said no specific extra security measures were planned to protect UK media organisations, but added that any organisations with concerns should approach the police.