A top crime tsar will ask the Government to rethink proposed cuts in police spending if the risk level in Britain goes up in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.
The current threat level is at ‘highly likely’, the second highest category, and the Government’s Cobra committee, chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron, will today consider raising it to ‘imminent’ for the first time since 2007.
If that happens then North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick says he is ready to call on Home Secretary Theresa May to reconsider planned cuts in the budgets of police forces across the UK.
Mr Roddick, the newly-elected chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners for England and Wales, added that in the wake of the attacks which left 129 dead in the French capital, more armed security forces, including police are likely to be seen on the UK’s streets.
But he sent out a message to the public on possible terrorist attacks: “Don’t be frightened – be alert.”
Mr Roddick said: “In this country we have a number of levels at which threats from terrorism are set, the highest being critical and the second highest being severe.
“Presently, we are at severe, which has been the case for the past 12 months or so.
“Following the meeting of the Government’s COBRA emergency committee on Sunday, which was chaired by the Home Secretary the threat level remains at severe.
“The fact that it has stayed at that level for the past year and there have been no major incidents demonstrates the police are coping and that they have been able to manage it despite the cutbacks of the past four years.
“However, if the threat level was to go up to critical, police forces would then become the front line for dealing with that threat and it would have to be dealt with not only by the intelligence services but also by community policing and probably more intense community policing.
“It would involve probably the cancellation of leave and rest days and everyone having to work seven days a week in order to man the pumps adequately.
“That is the signal, when you are working to capacity, that police forces cannot withstand any further cutbacks in their budgets and if that were to happen it would be appropriate for me to ask the Home Secretary to reconsider the extent of the cutbacks to afford further protection for policing, especially in those communities where the threat is particularly critical.”
Mr Roddick said that if the threat of a terrorist attack on the UK does increase people should also be prepared to see more guns being carried on the streets.
He explained: “If the threat level goes to critical it means that an attack is imminent and, if that’s the case, we are bound to see more arms on the street, being carried either by soldiers or by police officers as there might well be an incident they have to respond to.
“At this time however, my message to people is don’t be frightened but be alert and if you see anything suspicious you should inform the police immediately.”