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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Police chief to liaise with FBI
Heathrow Airport
Security has been stepped up at UK airports
Britain's most senior police officer is liaising with US law agencies to help with intelligence operations in the wake of terror attacks in New York and Washington.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens is expected to speak with New York's police commissioner and the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to see what action can be taken help to catch those responsible.

Sir John Stevens
Sir John Stevens says Londoners will not be cowed by terrorism
Scotland Yard - police headquarters in London - said Sir John had been travelling to the US as events unfolded on Tuesday but security restrictions meant his plane was forced to return to London's Heathrow Airport.

Thousands are feared to have died when hijacked passenger planes were forced to crash into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

Another passenger jet - a United Airlines 757 - has crashed in Pennsylvania, south-east of Pittsburgh with all 45 people on board feared dead. It is not clear whether that too had been hijacked.

Security steps
Airports on alert
All private planes grounded
No flights over London
Police across UK on alert
Defence facilities across world on alert
Business and finance institutions advised on extra measures
Cooperating with US, EU and other allies on security issues
Cabinet security meeting to be held on Weds morning

Sir John said he wanted to reassure the British public that police were taking "all necessary precautions" to ensure similar attacks did not happen in the UK.

"Should there be any warnings we will let people know but at the moment it is business as usual and everything will be done by the security forces of this capital to ensure that people are as safe as possibly can be in the circumstances."

He added: "We are working very closely with the security services and we are working extremely closely with our American colleagues and others."

Airports on alert

The UK's airports, cities and government buildings are on heightened security.

Heathrow Airport is a focus for particular attention, said Sir John.

All private aircraft have been grounded and no flights allowed on the normally busy flight paths over London until further notice.

Sir John said the air exclusion zone over London was a "precaution" to ensure only authorised aircraft could fly in the area.

World Trade Centre on fire
Both Trade Centre towers collapsed
There is no intelligence that London or other parts of Europe are a target, he said.

Some officers have had their leave cancelled and others have been taken off training and put on operational duties to give the Metropolitan Police about 500 extra officers.

Sir John said Londoners were "not cowed by terrorism" and should try to carry on business as usual as far as possible on Wednesday.

He said it was important that the people responsible for the "horrendous" outrages in the US were identified as early as possible.

See also:

11 Sep 01 | Scotland
Rescuers on US stand-by
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair's statement in full
11 Sep 01 | UK
UK buildings evacuated
11 Sep 01 | Americas
Could the planes have been stopped?
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair condemns terrorist 'evil'
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