CITY banks yesterday received a stark warning from the City of London Police that the threat of terrorism is “real and ever-present”, after the Real IRA warned it had made
banks and their staff a potential target for attack.
The force said that the official terrorist threat level had not been raised because of the Real IRA’s warning, though it reiterated calls for vigilance on the part of the public as “one of the best ways of preventing and detecting crime”.
Its guidelines for City workers include informing the police of anything suspicious, however seemingly insignificant, as well as keeping alert to the threat of postal bombs – including unusual-smelling or heavy packages, or those which are addressed incorrectly, bear too many stamps for the weight or have grease stains on the envelope or wrapping.
A source at one large firm said the organisation had made sure to make staff aware of the threat, adding that most of the UK’s biggest banks kept up a regular dialogue with the security services over potential threats.
Leaders of the republican terrorist group told the Guardian newspaper that the “role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain’s colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed”.
However, the Real IRA – which has around 100 activists – does not have the same firepower as the Provisional IRA, which repeatedly targeted London’s financial community in the 1990s.
In April 1993, a bomb planted in Bishopsgate exploded, killing one person and injuring dozens more, while Canary Wharf was also targeted by the terror group a few years later.