Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has warned that returning Britons who had travelled to fight with ISIL may be on their way home posing a heightened terrorist threat.
The soon retiring commissioner of the Metropolitan police claimed that as ISIL loses ground in Iraq and Syria, battle-hardened jihadis who left Britain to join the group may return back to the UK - creating added pressure for Britain’s counter terrorism police and security services.
In an interview with the London Evening Standard newspaper, Hogan-Howe, who is soon to retire from the job, said that counter terrorism investigators would be able to mitigate the threat posed by the returnees, despite the being ‘brutalised’ and better organised.
He said: “We are now seeing Daesh’s sphere of influence being reduced in Syria and Iraq, and it looks as though it’s clear that they will lose and the other side will win. Some of those people are going to come home and that’s the threat that’s hanging there.
“The ones who return in reasonable numbers will put more pressure on us and will go to the top of the priority list in terms of looking at, because they will be brutalised, militarised, have friends and a level of organisation that we don’t experience today. They are the ones that we most have to worry about and it’s hard to predict when.”
The UK and US have announced new carry-on restrictions banning large electronic devices on certain passenger flight, with US media reporting that so-called Islamic State group (IS) has been working on ways to smuggle explosives on to planes by hiding them in electronics.
Mayor of London Saidq Khan has launched a new policing plan, outlining a series of measures aimed at tackling hate crime, supporting victims and boosting the Metropolitan police’s armed anti-terror squad.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has announced that Jeremy Fleming has been appointed to succeed Robert Hannigan as director of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), with the agreement of Prime Minister Theresa May.