Security Minister Lord West said on a visit to Birmingham that the threat of a terrorist attack remains “severe”.
During his visit to the Hilton Metropole Hotel yesterday, Lord West said the most likely form of attack would probably be a vehicle-borne explosive into a crowded place.
Lord West was in the city to begin public consultation on guidance to protect people at would-be terrorist targets including shopping centres and football grounds and announced £5 million to bring it into effect.
Speaking to delegates – among them the police, Midlands councils and NEC venues – the minister said it was important to be in Birmingham because sometimes issues got “London-centric”.
He was asked to review protecting crowded places by Gordon Brown in 2007 after terrorists rammed a jeep into Glasgow Airport, which immediately put the country on critical alert – the highest terror threat level. He said: “The scale and the nature of the threat we face today is radically different from what we have had to deal with in recent decades.
“The threat level in this country does remain severe. Even as I’m talking to you now an attack or multiple attacks could be happening.”
The guidance will help show what practical differences can be made to reduce the vulnerability of places like pubs, clubs, shopping centres, sports stadia and schools.
Advice will be given from police counter terrorism security advisers, who for the first time are carrying out a standardised risk assessment of crowded places across the country.
Lord West was joined by Secretary of State for communities Hazel Blears to present a revised version of the country’s strategy for tackling international terrorism, known as CONTEST.