There will be a heightened police presence at British ports and major events over the coming days in response to the massacres in Paris, a senior British Metropolitan Police officer has said.

London skyline

London skyline Image by Paul Wilkinson / CC BY 2.0

Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner for specialist operations in London, said the UK’s official terror threat level was already at “highly likely” – the second highest it can be – and he expected the Cobra meeting called by Prime Minister David Cameron to consider raising it further.

He called for “vigilance” from the public, stressing that the fight against terrorism was dependent on maintaining the trust and confidence of the UK’s communities to provide police with information about suspicious behaviour.

He said: “We can’t let the terrorists defeat us by becoming fearful and withdrawing from the streets. It comes down to trust between communities and the ability for the public to trust the police and work with us and supply us with the sort of information they have been very effectively over the past year.”

A view of London, from The Shard. Image by [Duncan] / CC BY 2.0.

London on high alert after Paris attacks. Image by [Duncan] / CC BY 2.0

Mr Rowley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are strengthening our policing stance across the country at the moment, and we are reviewing that later this morning, no doubt, with the Prime Minister at Cobra.”

He added: “We are strengthening our ability to protect the public. We will be looking at events today and the policing profile there.

“We’ve made some small changes. People may notice a little change at ports. People may notice some changes at events in big cities across the country – extra police officers, extra checks, extra vigilance from the police.

“We will constantly keep that under review, and there are many events over the coming days and weeks we will have to look at.”

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