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World

British anti-terror chief quits after security lapse

Britain's top anti-terror officer has tendered his resignation after he was photographed holding documents with sensitive data on display. The blunder forced a massive anti-terror raid to be moved forward.

Bob Quick

Bob Quick held the role of anti-terror chief for just over one year

The assistant commissioner of London's Scotland Yard, Bob Quick, was photographed as he arrived at the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street for talks on police reform. Briefing notes revealing plans to crack down on a suspected Al-Qaeda group plotting attacks in Britain were visible in the photo, including the number of suspects and where the planned raids would take place.

Just hours later, 12 terror suspects were arrested in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire in north-west England after the raid was pushed forward.

British police had been tracking several Pakistani suspects who were in the country on student visas, as well as a British-born suspect. According to The Times newspaper, the suspects had plans to attack a nightclub and a shopping complex in Manchester.

London mayor accepts Quick’s resignation

Quick immediately apologised for the security breach to police Chief Paul Stephenson after the incident came to light. On Thursday, Quick tendered his resignation, which London Mayor Boris Johnson said that he had accepted with "great reluctance and sadness." The opposition Conservatives have described the security breach as "an extraordinary and very alarming lapse."

Britain has been on high security alert ever since the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London, which killed 56 people, and failed car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow in June 2007. The country’s security threat remains “severe “ - the second highest level possible.

Al-Qaeda leaders based in Pakistan have threatened to mount attacks on the UK and British security officials say they have the capacity to do so.

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