Ministers have been accused of a lack of urgency in their response to the Harris Review into London’s preparedness to deal with terror attacks.
Commissioned by Mayor Sadiq Khan and published last year, the wide-ranging review was overseen by former Metropolitan Police Authority chair and counter-terror expert Lord Toby Harris and made more than 127 recommendations to bolster the capital’s resilience.
Today Mayor Khan confirmed that the bodies and agencies under his direct control have implemented recommendations relating to them, including setting up a new group including the emergency services and local authorities to strengthen security on the River Thames, working with schools to promote terror preparedness, and ensuring the Met has access to live CCTV during incidents.
However City Hall says Government departments and ministers have failed to act in several key areas, highlighting the ongoing refusal to close the £172 million gap between the Met’s national policing responsibilities and the National and International Capital Cities Grant which is meant to fund this work, and a Home Office refusal to fund more counter-terror advisers.
In addition the Mayor’s office says ministers have so far failed to confirm funding for permanent barriers to protect ceremonial events in Westminster, such as Trooping the Colour, and says the Department for Communities and Local Government has rejected calls for resilience to be designed into new buildings as standard.
Publishing his response to the Harris Review, Mayor Khan said: “In the face of a growing threat to London and other global cities, I am doing everything in my power to ensure our capital is as prepared as possible to respond to terrorism.
“Our police officers and emergency services do a fantastic job, working tirelessly every day to keep us safe.
“We have worked extremely hard together to deliver on the recommendations made by Lord Harris and to make London safer, whilst also coping with four barbaric terror attacks and the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower this year.
“We have implemented more than two thirds of Lord Harris’s recommendations, but there is still work to do.
“The Government needs to put Londoners’ safety first: it must step up, stop dragging its feet and take urgent action on the remaining recommendations. “
Lord Toby Harris added: “I am pleased that so much work has been done by the Metropolitan Police and others in the GLA family to take action on the recommendations I made in my report.
“That work is essential, and that progress needs to be continued.
“However, it is also important that central government and other relevant organisations also work together to ensure that London’s preparedness to respond to a major terrorist incident continues to develop.”