A Birmingham expert in terrorism and international security has warned that the risk of a terrorist attack on the region had not diminished despite the fact no explosives were found during Saturday night's police operations in the city centre.
Dr Sean McGough, of Birmingham University, said he believed the ?credible? warning that West Midlands Police received prior to the evacuation pointed to a second terrorist cell prepared to attack Birmingham.
?The police must have had intelligence - either home-grown or foreign - that led them to believe there is a credible group operating Britain which was going to bomb in this area,? he said.
?There is humdrum intelligence and hearsay and then there is intelligence from highly respected sources and people giving it believe they are warning of a threat.
?If it is not connected to the London attacks then logically, they believe it to be a separate group altogether with the potential and ability to carry out an attack. They must have felt it would be a similar attack to London because it seems they looked for multiple devices.? He said there were numerous terrorist associations which deliberately gave out false alarms so that security forces became relaxed, which was something to be vigilantly guarded against.
?There is never a guarantee something is going to be carried out but acting on it is the only way of preventing what happened in London,? he said.
He said from reports of events that took place on Saturday, there could be parallels between group behind Saturday?s threat and the terrorists who launched last Thursday?s London attacks.
?We can?t say whether it is a domestic or international terrorist group. We can only assume that the way police investigated it, looking for multiple devices and following on from London, there?s a strong possibility that although they are not the same but the link between the groups is related to so-called Islamic terrorists. ?
He said disrupting everyday life and particularly business was a hallmark of al Qaida or a linked organisation.
?You have to think if there?s no bomb threat what about the businesses in the city centre, and the lost trade,? he said. ?The reality is that this is exactly the target of al Qaida, to disrupt business. Whether they actually plant a bomb or they don?t, it has the same effect.
Society in Britain has to change,? he added, referring to how the public treat the police and emergency services.