Bernie Gravett our Director was interviewed live today on Canadian Broadcasting News. The programme aired on the morning news. Questions were asked about the best ways to combat the current wave of terrorist attacks and if the funding cuts had impacted on that fight.
Bernie gave a measured response concerning the changing landscape of the terrorist methadology. They have moved from centrally coordinated and at times funded large scale plots, to driven and inspired lone wolves or low tech terrorists. The latter being difficult to monitor and to combat.
Small groups can assemble in an individuals house and plan an attack with knives from the kitchen. There is no internet or telephone communication. The simply get up and go with little or no complete plan at the time.
This is hard for the security services and specialist police units to combat.
The cuts have impacted significantly on frontline and community policing. Community policing teams have been reduced in London from 1 Sergaent, 2 Constables and 3 PCSOs per 10,000 residents to 1 officers to 10,000 residents.
Community policing is the bedrook of the UK model. Face to face, casual, cups of tea and short dicussions that gather intelligence from the community. Bernie mentioned that he once had an entire team in the Central London Mosque every friday at Prayers. This allowed the community to raise concerns, to engage police in a non confrontational manner and to pass on worries and concerns. This no longer takes place.
The cuts in reality have been 25% of police budets since 2010. This has meant a loss of 20% of officers, 30% of PCSOs and other support staff on top. Local police stations have closed and we have even sold Scotland Yard!