London's Metropolitan Police service are today set to carry out a major anti-terrorism exercise, codenamed Operation Strong Tower.
Armed police will see their ability to react under pressure to a terrorist threat tested, as part of the government's standard National Counter Terrorism Programme.
14 security agencies will be involved in Operation Strong Tower, with the first of the two-day exercise focussing around Aldwych underground station in Surrey Street, WC2.
"Testing and exercising is a really important way to ensure that our plans to respond to a major incident or terrorist attack are as good as they can be," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner, who is also the Exercise Director.
"We put huge effort into our planning and want to test how we all work together. The exercise scenario will test our tactical response including working with our emergency services partners, containing the situation, evacuating the injured and managing a crime scene.
"We've carefully planned the live play elements of this exercise to make sure that any disruption to the public is kept to a minimum."
Some have queried whether today's Operation Strong Tower exercise is in direct response to the terror attack in Tunisia last week, where as many as 30 UK citizens are believed to have been killed when a gunman opened fire on a tourist-filled beach. However, the Metropolitan Police service has stated that, while the exercise is partially designed to prepare for such events, it was planned six months in advance of the Tunisia attack taking place.
"Sadly, London is no stranger to terrorism," added de Brunner.
"Given the changing nature of the very real terrorism threat and events around the world we need to constantly adapt our plans and prepare for new or emerging threats.
"What is vitally important to all the agencies involved, who work together everyday, and to Londoners is that when the worst happens we are prepared to be the very best we can. We have sound plans and highly dedicated, brave staff that Londoners can be confident in."
The exercise will conclude on the afternoon of Wednesday July 1st, and local businesses that could be affected by the disruption have been informed in advance. [Metropolitan Police]