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The Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel has confirmed that there were two attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning – one at Zaventem airport and the other at Maelbeek metro station. A number of people were killed and many wounded.
The Belgian federal prosecutor Fredere Van Leeuw has confirmed that the three explosions were terror attacks.
Reports on the death toll have varied and information suggests that at least 31 people have died and at least 270 injured.
Speaking on national media on morning of 23 March, MPS Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, and chair of the Security Review Committee, said:
“Security has been stepped up at major airports and rail stations across the country and crowded places as a precautionary measure, not as result of intelligence and information.”
“We offered assistance to Belgium immediately after yesterday’s horrific attack and UK officers are out there assisting Belgium authorities. We are sharing UK CT expertise while enabling fast-time sharing of intelligence, which is vital in countering global threat.”
“Strong and effective working relations between police and security services are borne out of decades of tackling terrorism in the UK.”
“We are not complacent – police and security services working together tirelessly to prevent attacks on UK soil.”
“The threat level in the UK has been graded as severe since August 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely. We have a duty to keep the public safe. We are monitoring intelligence very carefully and learning from attacks such as Paris and Brussels.”
“There’s no intelligence here to raise the threat level to critical; should this happen it would be a decision for HMG. It would not be sustainable to stay at critical for a long period of time.”
“Police and intelligence services have thwarted seven plots in the last 12 to 18 months.”
“Our message to the public today is stay alert but not alarmed and to report anything suspicious to the confidential anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”
Counter Terrorism Protective Security Update
Current Threat Levels
The threat to the UK from international terrorism remains unchanged at SEVERE, as it has been since August 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely. For more information please see: https://www.mi5.gov.uk
British Transport Police
Following the tragic events in Brussels, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas from British Transport Police said: “The safety of the travelling public and rail staff in England, Scotland and Wales remains our absolute priority. British Transport Police will continue to have highly visible officers across the train and tube network and as a precaution following the events in Brussels, is deploying extra resources at key locations.”
“This does not mean we have specific intelligence about those stations where the officers are posted, just that we are prepared for any eventuality.
The national threat level is currently unchanged and remains SEVERE which means everyone has a responsibility to stay alert and report any activity or items which seem suspicious.”
“We ask that you take particular care and keep your personal belongings with you at all times. At a time when sensitivity is heightened, a misplaced bag or piece of forgotten luggage could present a serious cause for concern and is something which is easily avoidable.
Reviewing your Protective Security
There is no change to the UK threat level which remains at SEVERE, this means an attack is highly likely. Following recent attacks, it is important that businesses reassure their staff to ensure they are alert, but not alarmed. This is the right moment for businesses to review their security plans to ensure that the measures they should already have in place, are still current and have been tested to ensure staff are prepared and confident.