New Counter Terrorism Operations Centre unveiled in London

The first elements of the new Counter Terrorism Operations Centre (CTOC) in London have been unveiled.

They include a cutting-edge counter terrorism operations suite which is now fully operational and a dedicated, state-of-the-art counter terrorism forensics laboratory to follow soon.

The first completed section of the new CTOC, which is being housed within the Empress State Building in West Brompton, was visited by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. 

They were shown the new operations suite by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu and the Director General of MI5, Ken McCallum. The Mayor and Home Secretary also met and spoke with staff and officers who will be working from the CTOC.

Threat

Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The new Counter Terrorism Operations Centre will allow those involved in countering the threat from terrorism in London to work much more collaboratively and effectively. It will make Londoners, and indeed everyone in the UK, safer from that threat. 

"The need for closer collaboration between agencies is something that came out of the review that I and the Director General of MI5 committed our organisations to undertake following the devastating terrorist attacks in 2017. I’m delighted that we’re seeing the tangible outcomes from that review.

Facility

She explained that the opening of the new operations suite marks ‘another significant step on the journey to delivering this world-class facility here in London and I would like to thank both the Mayor of London and the Government for their continued support with this project.’

"The investment that we, the Mayor and the Government are all making will help to keep London and the UK at the very forefront of global counter terrorism capability and will keep the public safer because of it.”

Knowledge

Ken McCallum, Director General for MI5 said: “Finding concealed threats is a difficult job. We’re always looking for ways to shave the odds in our favour. 

"We know our chances of success are better when we combine the knowledge and the skills of experts from different organisations, fighting terrorism as a single team. CTOC is a massive next step on that journey – a world first.

As well as visiting the new operations suite, the Mayor and Home Secretary were shown around what will be a dedicated counter terrorism forensics laboratory, which will be part of the new CTOC. The facility, which is due to open later this year, will allow investigators the opportunity to access some of the most advanced forensic science capabilities in the world, and the ability to do so in a much quicker and streamlined way.

Capability

The new CTOC will continue to be built and developed within the Empress State Building over the next four years. Gradually, different functions, teams and organisations will move into the centre, with this phased approach allowing current operational capability to continue uninterrupted.

The development of the CTOC was born out of a series of terrorist attacks in 2017 which killed 36 and caused injuries and life-changing impacts to many more people. The attacks and the subsequent operational improvement review – which was independently assured by Lord Anderson - highlighted the need to further develop our counter terrorism response to ensure it continues to adapt to an evolving threat.