Revellers at major sporting events and festivals this summer could potentially become targets for terrorism, according to the Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, who said in a recent anti-terrorism briefing held at Wembley Stadium that sport and music venues are vulnerable due to the higher populations of people.
With festival organisers and football club executives in attendance, Basu urged bosses to step up all security solutions in the wake of recent terrorist attacks such as Paris in November last year, in addition to the current terrorism threat in the UK classed as severe by the MI5 intelligence agency.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Basu explained: “This (large venues) is where you put a small town into a small area for a couple of hours. That’s exactly the same with large concert venues and much harder to safeguard with a large open-air festival. The threat has become much more difficult to counter because it’s not potentially anytime, any place, anywhere. These people (terrorists) are perfectly happy to target civilians with the maximum terror impact. Crowded places were always a concern for us, but now they are right at the top of the agenda.”
Despite admitting that there is no specific intelligence to suggest a possible terrorist attack at a sporting or music venue, Basu did, however, mention a previous possible attack by a ‘Paris terrorist cell’, where photographs of a football stadium in Birmingham were found on a mobile phone.