The government has accidentally published plans to deploy 5,100 troops on British streets in the event of multiple terrorist attacks. The top-secret plans, codenamed Operation Temperer, have not been discussed in Parliament or disclosed to the public but were accidentally published on a government website after being drawn up by police chiefs and discussed at the highest levels of Government.
The military contingency was revealed in the minutes of a National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) meeting held on the 22 April. The documents were accidentally uploaded to the NPCC website and spotted by The Daily Mail before being deleted on Friday.
Under the heading ‘COUNTER TERRORISM POST PARIS LARGE SCALE MILITARY SUPPORT TO THE POLICE’, the minutes revealed that deputy chief constable Simon Chesterman, the ‘national lead’ for armed policing, briefed the other chief officers on the move.
The unprecedented deployment may have become necessary in light of recent cuts to policing and the marauding terror attacks seen in Paris. Such a move would be very controversial; it would be unparalleled, potentially signaling that the government had lost control of security and could compromise civil liberties, critics have argued.
The mass military deployment would only be triggered after two or three simultaneous attacks. Troops would be used alongside armed police to guard key targets and providing “protective security” against further attacks. Counter-terror experts and MI5 officers would hunt down the terrorists.
Vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Will Riches, told the Mail: “The bottom line is you can’t reduce 17,000 police officers and expect nothing to change. While police are well-versed at contingency planning, the levels of cuts to officers means that we cannot police events in the same way.”
The revelations come on the same day that The Telegraph revealed that the Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered officials to begin planning for a new intervention in Libya, which has become a haven for Islamic State terrorists.