Portsmouth ‘should not get complacent’ over terrorism threat say security experts

Brittany Ferries' Mont St Michel ferry
Brittany Ferries' Mont St Michel ferry

Portsmouth churches back military pledge

  • Ex-Royal Navy Commander urges city to be on its guard
  • Maritime terror attack is unlikely, he adds
  • Warning comes amid growing concerns nationally
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SECURITY experts are urging people in Portsmouth to be more vigilant of potential terror attacks in the city amid rising concerns of possible atrocities hitting Britain.

The warning was made by the boss of Portsmouth-based security firm Dryad Maritime, in Kingston Crescent.

I don’t think that Portsmouth is any safer or any more in peril than any other city in the UK. But what I think we all need to do is be continually vigilant

Ian Millen, chief operations officer of Dryad Maritime

It comes just days after armed French police boarded Brittany Ferries’ cross-Channel ship Mont St Michel – a vessel that sails from Portsmouth.

The action is being used as a fresh way to prevent terror attacks.

Ian Millen, chief operations officer of Dryad welcomed the move and said there are a host of terror threats facing the maritime industry.

And he said Portsmouth needed to keep its guard up against possible attacks.

Although he stressed that the city’s defences were adequate.

But the former navy Commander – who also spent four years with the Serious Organised Crime Agency – said it was dangerous to become complacent.

Speaking to The News, he said: ‘The terrorist acts are going to happen when you least expect them.

‘They will always try and go for the “soft target” wherever they’re to be found. We only have to look at the tragedy in Nice.

‘I don’t think that Portsmouth is any safer or any more in peril than any other city in the UK.

‘But what I think we all need to do is be continually vigilant.

‘There’s been a high level of security threats in the UK.’

Mr Millen, who is also the chairman of the Solent Marine and Maritime Steering Group, said passenger ferries could be easy targets for terrorists.

But he said that security at Portsmouth International Ferry Port was good and that such an attack was unlikely to be successful.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt agreed with Mr Millen.

She added: ‘We need to be vigilant everywhere these days, whether it’s on the shore, or in our capital city or the local shopping centre.’

The former armed forces minister said that the city’s naval base could make Portsmouth a target.

But she said: ‘A huge amount of effort and work goes into making sure that the naval base’s security and city’s security is where it needs to be.

‘As a minister I have seen this work first-hand and I’m confident about all this.’

The Home Office does not have plans for armed police on ferries in UK waters.