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Security One Year On

NCJ Number
Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor Dated: September 2002 Pages: 6-7,10
A. Oppenheimer
Date Published
September 2002
3 pages
This document assesses the readiness of Britain to respond to terrorist attacks one year after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington.
Politicians in Britain are questioning the ability of the emergency services in the country to deal with a similar attack or react to the use of biological weapons. As the potential number two target of al-Qaeda, Britain has responded to the attacks on a much smaller scale than the United States. According to a recent report, Britain’s security plans are badly coordinated, under-funded, and leave the country unprepared to respond to a terrorist attack. Government bodies, such as the Home Office, Ministry of Defense, intelligence services, police, and local councils, are failing to work together on issues of security. The United Kingdom lacks the infrastructure to manage the sort of massive long-term relief operation launched in the United States to coordinate or assist with local aid efforts. There is no United Kingdom version of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate emergency responses to disasters. In England and Wales, emergency planning is the responsibility of local authorities that are plagued with limited budgets and resources. It is unclear whether firefighting and medical services could handle a disaster like the New York attacks. European airports have made few changes regarding airport security compared to those in the United States. There is an increased threat to Britain’s nuclear installations and nuclear sites have been identified as poorly defended. A new police force, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, has been proposed to protect nuclear cargoes. The government is planning to merge the Public Health Laboratory Service with the National Radiological Protection Board to advance medical readiness in case of a biological or chemical attack. The National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre was set up to alert government agencies of the threats to key public computer networks.