17 Jul 2020
Why we need to stay alert to the terror threat as the UK reopens
Until recently, COVID-19 had reduced opportunities for terrorism as the lockdown meant most public spaces would be deserted, with most non-essential businesses forced to close. The recent terrorist attack in June 2020 in Reading, the first reported terrorist event in the UK since the beginning of the pandemic, has highlighted the ever-present threat of terrorism in busy public spaces in the UK.
Earlier this month, the government announced new laws to relax lockdown rules. This means that public spaces such as bars, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues can operate in public spaces outside their premises.
While this strategy is likely to benefit businesses and the economy, there’s a big risk that the new outdoor public space arrangements may become attractive targets for terrorists.
While the UK’s recovery strategy mentions redesigning public spaces to make them “secure”, it only focuses on the risk of the virus itself. Security also needs to take into consideration the threat posed by terrorism.
Dr Alasdair Booth, a Visiting Fellow in Counter-Terrorism Protective Security and the Built Environment within our School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, discusses why we need to stay alert to terror threats as the UK reopens in the Conversation.