The cowardly attacks that took place in Paris yesterday have shocked and sickened people in the United Kingdom and around the world. And they are a reminder of the very serious threat we face from terrorism.
In deliberately targeting and murdering journalists, the terrorists were attacking freedom and democracy. And in murdering police officers, they attacked the people who risk their own safety every day to protect us and our way of life.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke to President Hollande, and British officials are in close contact with their French counterparts. We have offered France every assistance necessary, including the full cooperation of our police and Security and Intelligence Agencies.
Following the attacks, we took the precautionary step yesterday of increasing security at the French/UK border. The UK threat level – which is set by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, JTAC – remains at SEVERE. That means that a terrorist attack is ‘highly likely’ and the public should remain vigilant. And this morning I chaired COBRA to consider Britain’s response to the attacks and our own preparedness for a similar attack.
People from all faiths and walks of life have expressed their disgust at the events that took place in Paris. I want to reiterate our commitment to standing with the French people against terror. The thoughts and prayers of all of us are with the families, friends and colleagues of the victims.