- Sir Bernard Hogan Howe lays bare the sharp rise in 'life-threatening' plots
- Security services are more used to disrupting one outrage each year
- Met chief: It's 'impossible to understand' why people take children to Syria
- Warns of the 'risk' of a Tunisia-style gun attack in Britain in the future
Police have foiled five deadly terror plots in the last year, Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard-Hogan Howe revealed today.
The Met Police commissioner said there had been a dramatic increase in the number of 'life-threatening' outrages disrupted by security services who are used to catching just one every 12 months.
He also warned of a growing number of young adults travelling to Syria, adding it was 'impossible to understand' why people tried to take children to live under the barbaric ISIS terror group.
Sir Bernard defended staging a mock 'marauding terrorist attack' on the streets of London earlier this month, insisting a balance had to be struck between testing the capabilities of the emergency services and worrying the public.
The large-scale operation came just days after the ISIS killings on a beach in Tunisia in which 38 tourists, including 30 Britons, died.
Sir Bernard said that with the terror threat level at its second highest, there is a 'serious concern' of a similar attack in Britain.
He told LBC radio: 'Over the last year we have interrupted we think about five different operations that people are now in the process of being prosecuted for.
'So that's an increase because probably we had about one a year in previous years.'
Asked if they could have 'potentially resulted in the loss of a lot of lives', he replied: 'Yes. They were life-threatening things which had we not intervened, obviously we work hand in hand with the security service – I'm sure people would have got hurt.'
He singled out the case of a 14-year-old schoolboy charged in connection with an ISIS-inspired beheading in Australia.
The case showed how most of those caught up in plotting terrorist outrages were 'generally younger'.
'And we have seen lots of younger people going to Syria, sadly with children which I find impossible to understand.'
The courts have imposed orders on more than 30 children over fears they could be radicalised.
Judges have considered cases involving at least a dozen different families, including concerns they could be taken out of the country to join ISIS in Syria.
Just this week adult members of two families were ordered by a judge to be immediately fitted with electronic monitoring tags because of fears they could take children to areas controlled by Islamic State.
Asked about the likelihood of a Tunisia-style attack in the UK, Sir Bernard said there is a 'risk' of a copycat attack.
He added: 'At the moment the threat level is severe. What that means is an attack is highly-likely, but we have no specific intelligence about some attackers.
'This is the second highest, the top is critical, so we are not there. That's usually where you know that three people named are out there trying to attack a particular target.
'This is only the level below that, so clearly there is a risk… we gather intelleigence, we have made lots of arrests over the last year.
'I think we have made an arrest nearly every day for terrorism, so it's a serious concern and it's clearly one of the scenarios we have planned for.
'We have got to get the balance right, if we do these exercises in public it can worry the public, but equally it can make them realise there are risks there.'
In the biggest exercise of its kind ever staged, Operation Strong Tower involved more than 1,000 Met police, armed forces, transport workers and Whitehall officials.
In extraordinary scenes, volunteers posing as members of the public were pictured with bloody wounds and fake severed limbs being lifted on stretchers by the emergency services.
It included a test of the emergency service response to a terrorist attack, at the disused tube station at Aldwych.