Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has confirmed plans to commission a new report examining London’s counter-terror preparedness.
It comes following warnings from a senior Met officer that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a “perfect storm” that has left individuals vulnerable to online grooming and radicalisation.
Following a question from Labour’s Unmesh Desai at a meeting of the London Assembly today, the mayor confirmed that “work was underway” on updating the Harris review into London’s preparedness for dealing with a terror attack.
The original independent review was conducted by Lord Toby Harris in 2016 following high-profile terror attacks in Europe including the 2015 Bataclan terror attack in Paris.
In the review Lord Harris made more than 100 recommendations, “the vast majority of which have been implemented, resulting in numerous improvements for safety” in London.
But Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly today that a “refresh” of the original review was important “at a time when we are due to receive the findings of both the Manchester Arena inquiry and the Fishmonger’s Hall inquest”.
Mr Khan said that the review will consider the extent to which the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and other organisations in London have acted on Lord Harris’ recommendations as well as which gaps remain.
Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly: “We are worried… that the pandemic has led to more people using the internet and more vulnerable people being radicalised through the internet and it’s really important that we understand that.
“As lockdown restrictions are lifted, the concern is that the radicalisation could lead to violent acts so we’re doing a number of things to address that.”
Earlier this year, the mayor announced the launch of the City Hall-funded iREPORTit app that allows people to anonymously report terrorist content found online and on social media.
Today, Mr Khan said that the app has resulted in “a large number of referrals” and stressed that “we’re going to continue occupying this space”.
Earlier this year, the UK’s terrorism threat level was downgraded from “severe” to “substantial”, though Home Secretary Priti Patel said that it would be kept under constant review.