“According to security service chiefs, the threat of an Islamist terror attack on Britain will remain high for at least another two years and may get even worse,” reported business publication ‘London Loves Business’ (LLB) on 28 March.
“The collapse of so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, combined with more online radicalisation, means that the risk of terrorism on UK soil could increase further,” the report continued, quoting the new National Security Capability Review (NSCR) which was set to be published later that day.
This came only hours before hundreds of UK schools received emails threatening to attack children, and went under lockdown. The emails appear to have been a hoax, but the fear they caused was all too real for many, as we have seen that terrorism can happen here in the UK.
We don’t believe in living in fear but we do want to be prepared, and knowing exactly what the potential dangers are is an important part of that preparation. We usually focus on terrorism that may affect us when we travel to other countries, but these reports have prompted us to take a closer look at what can happen on our doorstep.
What the experts say
Sky News spoke to GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) analysts recently, who confirmed that Islamic State/Daesh had “raised the bar” in its threat to the UK.
The group is said to be an “advanced adversary” due to its use of technology and the internet, and LLB’s report echoes this sentiment, referring to “online radicalisation.”
In the foreword to the NSCR document, Theresa May reminds readers of the attacks that we have already encountered: “Over the past year in the UK we have witnessed appalling terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, but also a brazen and reckless act of aggression on the streets of Salisbury: attempted murder using an illegal chemical weapons, amounting to an unlawful use of force against the UK.”
She also warns Britain’s enemies that the UK, “Will use every capability at our disposal to defeat them.”
We’re confident that our security services are focused on identifying and preventing potential threats, but there are still key things we should all do to improve our safety:
- Report any suspicious items or activities
- Remember to “Run, Hide, Tell” if something does happen
- Keep up to date with as much information as possible, wherever you are and wherever you’re planning to go.
- Talk to your family about safety and what they should do in an emergency
- Ensure that you have appropriate financial protection – at home and abroad – for extra peace of mind
Don’t let fear stop you
Nobody wants to think about the potential results of terrorism, but even indirect effects can add to unease and chaos – and that’s a significant element of terrorists’ goals. Being prepared in case of direct and indirect effects can help to ease those concerns.
In the Manchester Arena attack, for example, in addition to the tragic deaths and injuries sustained, many people had travelled to Manchester for the concert and were staying in hotels nearby. What if they weren’t injured but wanted to get home sooner to be with family after the traumatic attack? What if someone scheduled to travel to Manchester the following day didn’t feel safe and wanted to cancel their plans? What about people who lost wallets, handbags and jewellery fleeing the chaos? Or what if someone missed a flight as a result of delays caused by the attack? It can all become important if you’re in that situation.
Helping you to be prepared, not scared
There’s absolutely no comparison between those indirect effects and the horrific loss of life, but many of the indirect effects could have been mitigated. Being covered for those things certainly doesn’t make it all ok, but it’s one less worry to deal with. That’s why Safe Journey covers local and international travel.