Mon Mar 6, 2017 4:43PM
File photo of armed UK police officers
File photo of armed UK police officers

Several terrorist plots on the scale of those carried out in Paris and Brussels have been foiled in Britain in the past four years, according to the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer.

Mark Rowley revealed on Monday that security services have foiled 13 potential terror attacks in Britain since 2013, with more than 500 active investigations at any one time.

Rowley stated that he had launched an appeal called “Action Counters Terrorism” for the public to report suspicions.

Many of the disrupted attacks involved only one or two individuals, the officer said. But he added, “Some of them have been more sophisticated planning looking to attack public spaces, or police offices or the military, not that dissimilar to some of the attacks we have seen in Belgium and France and elsewhere. There is a whole range from the simple to the complicated.”

He further emphasized that most of the information used by police and intelligence agencies to prevent attacks came from the public.

"Sometimes that public information has actually started an investigation,” Rowley said. “Other times it's part way through and it corroborates some things or adds to things we already know. The public are making a great contribution which is critical to us all working together to protect ourselves from terrorism,” he added.

As part of the Action Counters Terrorism campaign, a podcast has been produced which reveals previously untold stories of how terrorist attacks in the UK were stopped, featuring accounts from detectives, bomb disposal and surveillance officers.

The officials are hopeful that the public will come forward with information which they might otherwise believe is of little value to investigators.

The Western and European governments were repeatedly warned of a terror backlash when they began supporting militants in their bid to topple the Syrian government. 

French police officers patrol at a Christmas market in Paris on December 20, 2016 as part of security measures in the aftermath of an attack in Berlin. (Photo by AFP)

On November 13, 2015, Daesh launched a series of attacks in Paris killing some 130 people. Investigations into the incident revealed that the perpetrators were mostly Belgium-based.

In March of the same year, two bomb attacks in Brussels killed at least 14 people and left nearly 100 people wounded, while a separate bombing in a metro station killed around 20 people and injured about 100 others.

Belgium, home to the main institutions of the European Union and the NATO headquarters, has been viewed as the prime source of recruitment for Daesh in Europe.

Daesh terrorists are mainly operating in Syria and its eastern neighbor, Iraq.