Individual Jailed for Hyde Park Firearms Plot

Dec 18, 2023 | Islamist Terrorism, Threat Analysis

Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 15 December 2023, an individual was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison for plotting to conduct an Islamist-inspired firearms attack at Hyde Park in London.[1] The individual intended to murder Christian preacher Hatun Tash, police officers, and any surrounding civilians, after deciding against an attack on the Queen’s funeral in Westminster. On 23 September 2023, armed police arrested the individual whilst he was travelling from Brighton to South London to buy a firearm and ammunition. He was found with £5,000 cash in his possession for the firearm purchase. In November 2023, three members of an Organised Crime Group were jailed, having admitted being party to a plot to sell a firearm to the individual. However, it was accepted that they did not know the firearm was intended to be used in a terrorist attack.

Event Assessment

  • It is almost certain that terrorist actors have the intent to conduct attacks in the UK using firearms. However, sophisticated firearms legislation and border control processes almost certainly provide a barrier for entry for any terrorist actor with the intent to conduct an attack in the UK using a firearm.
    • It is highly likely that any terrorist attack in the UK at this time would be conducted by an individual or small cell using a low-sophistication methodology. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapons, Vehicle as a Weapon, Fire as a Weapon.
      • There is a realistic possibility that terrorist actors could have the capability to conduct an attack using a high-sophistication methodology. E.g., Improvised Explosive Device, Firearms, etc. However, as demonstrated above, the complicated nature of plotting a high-sophistication terrorist attack makes it highly likely that there would be greater opportunity for UK police and security services to disrupt potential attacks.
        • According to the National Crime Agency, weapons in the UK are typically sold to Organised Crime Groups and urban street gangs in major cities. However, there is a realistic possibility that firearms could be accessed by individuals with the intent to conduct a terrorist attack.[3]
          • There is a realistic possibility that Organised Crime Groups would seek to avoid supplying terrorist actors with weapons in order to protect their business from counter-terrorism police investigations and association with terrorist actors. However, as demonstrated above, there is a realistic possibility that terrorist actors could seek to deceive Organised Crime Groups in order to gain access to weaponry by concealing their true motivations.[5]
            • It is almost certain that Islamist terrorism will remain the predominant UK terrorism threat in the long term and that there is a heightened terrorism threat in Western Europe and the UK at this time amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.[6]

                Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 18 December 2023

              PHIA Scale

              The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

                • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
                • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
                • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
                • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
                • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
                • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
                • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

                Time Spans

                  • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
                  • In the next 12 months.
                  • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
                  • Long Term: 5+ Years.

              Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
              Threat Analyst

              Read Time: 3 minutes

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