New counter terrorism centre opens in London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the home secretary visited the Counter Terrorism Operations Centre in London following its first phase completion.

The first elements of the new Counter Terrorism Operations Centre (CTOC) in London have been unveiled.

The new centre is housed in the Empress State Building in West Brompton, commissioned in the spate of terror attacks that killed 36 people in 2017.

 The centre’s operations suite is now fully operational with state-of-the-art forensics laboratory, opens later this year.

On Monday, Priti Patel and Sadiq Khan visited the centre accompanied by Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, assistant commissioner Neil Basu and Ken McCallum, director general of MI5.

Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The new Counter Terrorism Operations Centre will allow those involved in countering the threat from terrorism in London to work much more collaboratively and effectively. It will make Londoners, and indeed everyone in the UK, safer from that threat. 

“The need for closer collaboration between agencies is something that came out of the review that I and the Director General of MI5 committed our organisations to undertake following the devastating terrorist attacks in 2017. I’m delighted that we’re seeing the tangible outcomes from that review.

“The opening of the new operations suite marks another significant step on the journey to delivering this world-class facility here in London and I would like to thank both the Mayor of London and the Government for their continued support with this project. 

“The investment that we, the Mayor and the Government are all making will help to keep London and the UK at the very forefront of global counter terrorism capability and will keep the public safer because of it.”

Ken McCallum, Director General for MI5 said: “Finding concealed threats is a difficult job. We’re always looking for ways to shave the odds in our favour. 

“We know our chances of success are better when we combine the knowledge and the skills of experts from different organisations, fighting terrorism as a single team. CTOC is a massive next step on that journey – a world first.

“CTOC is built around the needs of the public, not the convenience of institutions.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The threats we face as a country from terrorism are diverse and always changing. To keep the British people safe, we must ensure we’re one step of ahead of those that seek to do us harm and attack our way of life.

“That is why I have established the world-leading Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre, which unites partners from Counter Terrorism Policing, the intelligence agencies and the criminal justice system to ensure that they can discover and disrupt threats more quickly to better protect the public.

“This is just one of the steps we’re taking to protect the British people from terrorism. We’ve also tightened sentencing for terrorist offenders, strengthened the supervision of terror offenders on licence, ended the automatic early release of terrorist prisoners and are consulting on the proposed Protect Duty.

“The British people should be in no doubt, I will always do everything in my power to keep them safe.”

CTOC, Sadiq Khan,

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my top priority and that means supporting our police and security services so they have the tools and resources to protect our city from the constantly evolving threat of terrorism.

“The new Counter Terrorism Operations Centre brings expertise and capabilities together in one place for the first time and I’m pleased the £412 million of investment from City Hall and the Met Police helped make this national hub a reality, working to keep London and all of the UK safe.

“It builds on the work London has already started to ensure our capital remains a world leader in counter-terrorism detection and response.”

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