Warning to conference centres over terrorist lone wolves

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Excel London

Islamic State manuals detailing how to prepare and deliver deadly attacks on public buildings, including UK conference centres, are being openly circulated on social media sites.

Gavin Macpherson from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office said that online jihadist forums give advice on preparing explosives and developing convincing cover stories to launch lone wolf attacks on public areas.

Macpherson was speaking at the inaugural Project Griffin seminar at Excel London. More than 600 people from venues, tourist attractions, security firms, and first responder services attended the event to hear specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police outline the nature of the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism and to learn how to cope in the event of an attack.

Macpherson said: "The government is warning about young people travelling abroad and being radicalised, but Internet-based magazines means people can be radicalised in their bedrooms."

He quoted the online jihadist site Inspire: "There’s no need to travel abroad, coz the frontline has come to you."

Kate Merrick, counter terrorism security adviser at the Metropolitan Police, said that venue staff should trust their instincts and be on the lookout for suspicious items but they should put safety first.

She said: "We are not looking for heroes. Don’t endanger yourself or others."

Brian Cole, chief operations officer, Excel London, said: “Excel London was delighted to host the largest Project Griffin seminar on 10 April. Nearly 600 attendees, including on-site service partners, event organisers, the Excel team and representatives from local hotels, along with senior police officers participated at presentations from specialist officers and members of the Metropolitan Police Service covering topics from the nature of the threat currently posed by terrorism and violent extremism to how to deal with suspicious items. The event was unique as it included a series of exhibition spaces to enable the various emergency response teams to showcase the equipment and resources available to them. The Excel London team supported every aspect of the event from working with the police service to secure the event, to supporting registration and providing refreshments and AV support.”

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