The threat of a terror attack by a “lone wolf” unknown to the security services is the single biggest problem for the UK, according to a former top police chief.
Lord Blair, the head of the Met Police during the 7/7 attacks in 2005, said that a “single individual with no previous contact” was now the biggest concern for the country.
Speaking on BBC Newsnight ahead of the 10-year anniversary of attacks, in which 52 people were killed by suicide bombers while traveling on London transport, Lord Blair said that terror threats had “in some ways lessened” since then “because the security services and police have been able to develop techniques which have thwarted a lot.”
“But,” he said, “as it evolves into what is sometimes called 'lone wolf', 'clean skin', that is a huge problem, because the more people you have in a conspiracy the more chances are somebody is going to find out about it.“
”It is still this horrible sense of a random threat sitting out there somewhere, as in Tunisia, if you just happened to be on the beach, in the wrong place at the wrong time.“
Lord Blair, who was the UK's most senior police officer between 2005 and 2008 and is now a crossbench peer, said that the “lone wolf” threat made working with the Muslim community imperative.
”If you are just a single individual with no previous contact, then that is a very big problem to solve which is why the role of the community is so important because only the community can give the police that first clue that there is something odd going on in that house.“
Lord Blair also warned against taking a more austere line on religious fundamentalism. In response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s comment that the UK should be more “intolerant of intolerance”, Lord Blair said: ”We have to take a very resolute approach, be resolute in actually requiring and demanding this community works with us... But you don't do it to them, you do it with them.“
Lord Blair said he does not believe that the West would be able to defeat the threat from Islamic extremism in his lifetime.Reuse content