Top policeman highlights gaps and failures in preparing for attacks

A senior policeman has urged the insurance industry to unite in its fight against terrorism.

David Veness, who is assistant commissioner, specialist operations with the Metropolitan Police, said there had been a number of failures in the UK's counter terrorism policy.

He said that counter terrorism was a "team endeavour" and that the insurance industry had to "work more effectively together" to fight terrorism.

He added that there were significant gaps in the UK's strategy to combat the terrorist threat.

"Failures have included the early onset of complacency as well as the misguided notion that the presence of terrorists in the UK was not harmful.

"Gaps have included the need to better understand the enduring nature of the terrorist threat, as well as the scale of possible harm."

Veness added that SME's were still largely unaware of the seriousness of the threat of terrorism in the UK.

He said that while some SME's were adequately prepared, around 85% of the sector still needed educating about counter-terrorism.

Veness said it was crucial that SME's adopted a "community" approach to combating terrorism.

"The good house-keeping agenda says that its important that security does not stop at your own perimeter.

"For example, CCTV should be outward as well as inward looking."

Veness added that the UK capital was particularly vulnerable to terrorist attack.

"London epitomises a terrorist stage, it's a financial centre as well as a communications and transport hub."