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Khan urges government to ‘step up’ on terror planning

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has accused the government of “dragging its feet” over emergency service terror funding.

Officials say there have been 11 attacks in the city since Khan took over – four at Westminster, London Bridge and Borough Market, Finsbury Park and on the London Underground at Parsons Green and a further seven foiled attempts.

The Lord Harris terror review, commissioned by the mayor early in his tenure, recommended wide-ranging changes in the way local authorities and the emergency services acted towards terror threats. Two-thirds of these have been put into practice in the capital.

According to an update this week, the final third of these proposals involve help from central government in the form of funding, guidelines and regulations.

“We have implemented more than two thirds of Lord Harris’s recommendations, but there is still work to do,” said Khan. “The government needs to put Londoners' safety first: it must step up, stop dragging its feet and take urgent action on the remaining recommendations.

“They must also provide the proper funding our police and other emergency services need,” the mayor continued. “I have made it clear time and time again that the Met’s budget is on a cliff-edge, and have done everything in my power to provide the police with extra funding.

“If the government continues to ignore the stark facts, then all the great work we have achieved together to keep Londoners safe from terrorism could be put in jeopardy.”

Another central feature of Harris’ report was cooperation with other EU countries, which the review claims is “crucial” to ensure the capital has a comprehensive security and counter-terror strategy.

Lord Harris himself commented: “The work is essential, and that progress needs to be continued. However, it is also important that central government and other relevant organisations also work together to ensure that London’s preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident continues to develop.”

This statement is one of multiple calls this year from London officials to the government to improve emergency staff funding. In June, Khan repeated pleas to the Conservatives to reduce spending cuts which threatened to reduce police numbers by 12,000.

The statements represent fears that falling officer numbers could lead to a lack of effective response but also problems with tracking potential suspects.

A Home Office spokesperson told PSE: “The Government has protected overall police spending in real terms, we are increasing funding for counter-terrorism by £3.4bn and the Home Secretary announced £24m in extra support for CT policing in addition to the £707m already committed for this year.

“In light of the terrorist attacks this year, we are reviewing our counter terrorism strategy to make sure we respond to the evolving threat in the most effective way we can, both now and in the future.

“The review is looking at all aspects of our terrorism approach, including some of the issues raised in the Harris review, and we are engaging with the police about the demands they are currently facing to ensure they continue to have the resources they need to keep us safe.”

Top image: Lauren Hurley PA Wire

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