LONDON — Special forces have been deployed to back British police after Paris attacks that killed 129 people, British newspapers reported on Sunday, as part of a wider boost in security measures.
Interior minister Theresa May did not deny the reports, telling the BBC that “arrangements” had been made to give the police military support where necessary.
British media reports said special forces were dressed in plain clothes and supporting police at busy public locations, including train and metro stations, shopping centers and popular entertainment districts.
“There are tried and tested arrangements in place to give military support,” Home Secretary Theresa May told the BBC when asked about the veracity of the reports.
“I don’t comment on the particulars of any deployments that are made, but we have arrangements in place where necessary for the police to have military support.”
On Saturday, Mark Rowley, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for counter-terrorism, said that policing at ports had been strengthened.
“People may notice some changes at events at big cities across the country,” he added.
Britain’s “severe” threat level, in place since August last year, remained unchanged after the Paris killings.
The threat level means an attack is “highly likely,” and the next highest level, “critical,” means an attack is imminent.
May is expected to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee later on Sunday to review Britain’s security response the Paris attacks.
According to UK paper the Daily Star, around 50 highly-trained troops were deployed in London after intelligence chiefs told British Prime Minister David Cameron that there had been no warning Paris would be attacked.
The paper identified the forces as a Special Air Services regiment and said it was based at a secret location on the outskirts of London. The SAS regiment is on high alert ready to respond to any attack, the paper reports.
Former head of counter intelligence at the Cabinet Office Richard Kemp says, “Uppermost in the minds of intelligence chiefs today is the prospect of both coordinated attacks and inspired attacks.”
The SAS has not been deployed in London since the 7/7 attacks in 2005. Fifty-two people were killed in the July 7 attacks.
In the coordinated assault on the French capital one British national was confirmed killed and the government said a “handful” of others were also feared dead.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.