Portsmouth scrutinises its security amid Isil terror threat

Police forces patrol in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris on Tuesday
Police forces patrol in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris on Tuesday
  • Terrorist issue a chilling threat to strike at the heart of the UK
  • The message has prompted Portsmouth’s ports, naval base and the county’s air traffic control to assess their security measure
  • City leader feels confident everything is being done to prevent possible terrorist attacks
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FEARS over terror attacks both on land and in cyberspace have prompted increased vigilance across the Portsmouth area.

It comes as Islamist terrorists announced a plot to launch deadly cyber-attacks designed to cripple the nation’s key transport systems, power stations and hospitals.

In response to the threats, the air traffic controller Nats, which manages the airspace over the UK, said it is confident about its security system.

A spokesman for the Whiteley-based controller said it was ‘highly focused’ on maintaining cyber security and reviewing its countermeasures on a regular basis.

‘Protecting information and maintaining cyber security requires constant vigilance and continual improvement, and Nats has invested significantly in resource and expertise,’ he added.

‘We constantly review our procedures and technologies to understand, and guard against, the latest threats.’

The warnings came after the Paris terror attacks as it emerged that police in the UK are investigating about 600 Islamist plots and other counter-terrorism cases.

A source at the Portsmouth Naval Base said its alert status had not changed since the attack.

But an official spokesman did say that security was ‘under constant review’.

Likewise, security is tight at the neighbouring port.

Portsmouth City Council, boss, councillor Donna Jones, said she met Portsmouth International Port manager Martin Putman the day after the French terror attacks.

She said she had been reassured the port’s security was as stringent as ever.

Cllr Jones said: ‘Due to its extremely close proximity to one of the largest naval bases in the world and home to the British Royal Navy, Portsmouth International Port is used to working with the military and government to ensure all risks are mitigated.’

A source at the port added that security remained a top priority.

‘Following the recent tragic events in Paris, Portsmouth International Port continues to work closely alongside the relevant statutory authorities to ensure that both the safety and security of our passengers remains our top priority,’ an official said.

Elsewhere, Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital said it was doing all it could to ensure its defences were up to scratch, in line with national procedures, to prepare for the unlikely possibility of a terror attack.

The increased vigilance comes after prime minister David Cameron vowed Britain would attack the ‘head of the snake’ in Syria.

Speaking at the House of Commons yesterday, the PM vowed Britain would remain strong in the face of the rise of Isil in the war-torn country. In a statement, Mr Cameron told MPs he wants ‘to do the right thing for our country’, adding the UK would stand shoulder to shoulder with the French.

‘Our people stand together as they have done so many times in history against evil. Once again together, we will prevail,’ he said.

Earlier, chancellor George Osborne revealed the UK would double funding to fight cybercrime to £1.9bn over five years as well as investing more in UK special forces.