Sussex PCC criticised for ‘scaremongering’ over terrorist threat

Katy Bourne
Katy Bourne

Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner was accused of ‘scaremongering’ when she said Brighton must be prepared for a terrorism attack ‘at any time’.

Speaking in Bognor Regis earlier this week, Katy Bourne said: “The threat level in this country remains at severe, whether you feel threatened from a terrorism attack or not I, as your police and crime commissioner, cannot take the risk that Sussex Police won’t be able to respond in time to save a life.

“God forbid we had a marauding terrorist incident like we saw in Tunisia with somebody with a sub machine gun on the beaches of Brighton or even in Bognor - although probably I am more inclined to think it might happen in Brighton because of the density of population. I need to be able to say to people we have the right resource there.”

Chris Hayes wrote on the Brighton & Hove Independent Facebook page: “Please do not translate the moderate risk of terrorist attack into a vicious monster waiting to pounce. Thanks to the never ending austerity we have to put up with, resources are scarce, prioritise them and I think that this is not a priority, just a headline grabbing comment.”

Brighton and Hove city councillor Adrian Morris said: “Should a Police and Crime Commissioner be making a scaremongering speech on terrorism? Agree, Katy Bourne is just grabbing the headlines and trying to justify her position.”

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell, police commander for Brighton and Hove, said: “Terrorism is rare in the UK, but an attack could happen at any time or place without warning. The current threat to the UK stands at severe, which means an attack is highly likely. There is no specific intelligence to suggest that any area of Sussex is currently at extra risk. In Sussex we have a range of plans and resources, working with both local partners and communities, and with national agencies, to help keep people safe. However we do not discuss the details or specific areas.

“Our advice to the public is always to be alert but not alarmed. We ask everyone to remain vigilant and to report any concerns to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321, in an emergency dial 999.”

Brighton and Hove City Council was approached for a comment on Ms Bourne’s comments, but declined.