Terrorists could launch Nice-style attacks in smaller towns and cities across the UK to take advantage of the weaker police presence there, security experts have warned.
Former Metropolitan Police counter-terror officer David Videcette has claimed that Islamic extremists may try to take advantage of “soft targets” across Britain where police forces have fewer resources.
His warning echoes a senior Tory MP, who cautioned that there will always be attacks on the country’s vulnerable locations.
The massacre in Nice has raised alarm among police forces across the UK, with some officers fearing it may mark a change in the tactics of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) operatives and sympathizers.
Videcette, a former Metropolitan Police detective who worked on the 7/7 London bombings investigation, has warned that terrorists will take advantage of cuts regional police have been forced to make under Tory austerity.
“At events like the Notting Hill Carnival, there will be a huge police presence as always. There will be lots of specialist officers around that you do not see,” he said.
“But it is a very different story at some of the events that take place outside of London. Some of the smaller forces do not have the same resources and having to balance a budget means they have fewer officers.
“There has been a culture of trying to do more with less, but that is something that can be exploited.”
In 2014, IS spokesman Abu Mohammed Al-Adnani urged lone-wolf terrorists to use any means possible, including vehicles, to carry out attacks.
As in France, British authorities are coming around to the idea that terror attacks may be inevitable in the future.
Julian Lewis MP, who chairs the Defence Select Committee, said the UK would have to become a police state to successfully keep all of its citizens safe.
“It will always be the case unless we become a police state – and thus help do the terrorists’ work for them – that individual atrocities will be able to be carried out in areas that are well protected and even more easily in areas that are not.”