Britain’s elite Special Air Services (SAS) commandos are running a series of counter-terrorism exercises to train police forces to foil “Mumbai-style” attacks on English soil, weeks after security agencies sounded an Europe-wide alert of an impending al-Qaeda strike.
“The UK security chief ordered an acceleration in police training to prepare for any future Mumbai-style terror strikes in public places,” BBC reported quoting top officials.
Police Armed Response Units are being given more powerful weapons to deal with multiple terrorists going on rampage with automatic weapons.
“This is the first time Metropolitan police have been asked to undertake specialized training,” BBC said quoting a Whitehall official.
They said plans had been drawn for a SAS unit to be stationed in London throughout the 2012 Olympics. The SAS is considered the world’s most lethal specialized force specially in combating terror threats.
The mobilization of SAS and their imparting training to Metropolitan police units comes as last month intelligence sources had uncovered the early stages of an al-Qaeda plot to carry out coordinated attacks in the UK, France and Germany.
BBC said suspects were planning to copy the 2008 attacks in the India’s financial capital Mumbai where 10 gunmen went on a three-day rampage killing 166 people and wounding more than 300.
“Prime Minister David Cameroon has taken a personal interest in the problem ever since the first threat assessment was given to him when he took office in May,” it said.
“Now police armed response units are getting their firepower and stocks of ammunitions increased to deal with multiple—terror threat.”
Security officials told BBC that plans were being put into place to have SAS level trained troops in every part of the country to be able to respond in the time scale you would need.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on intelligence or operational matters, or specific threats. The police regularly train and exercise for a variety of scenarios with a variety of partners.
“The police have established procedures in place to deal with a terrorist incident which are constantly updated.
It is right that we learn the lessons from previous incidents and that these inform and strengthen such procedures.
“We know we face a real and serious threat from terrorism. The overall threat level, set by JTAC (Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre), remains at severe which means that an attack is highly likely. This has not changed.”