The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said technology capable of detecting dirty bombs and track suspicious packages already used in New York should be installed in London to prevent terrorist attacks.
Getting some inspiration during his visit to New York City’s Police Department, Johnson suggested an automated surveillance system may contribute to safety in the capital.
"You can tell automatically here whether a bag has been left in the wrong place in a suspicious way based on the kind of technology that we have,” Johnson said. “I thought, from supermarket check-outs when it says unexpected item ... when you try to automatically buy something from Tesco and it says 'Unexpected item in baggage area'. That was clearly what's working very well here and I think we need consider all those kinds of things in London."
New York police uses a complex system of radiation detectors and surveillance cameras installed on buildings and carried by helicopters and police officers to improve the city’s security. An automated licence plate recognition system is also in place to help track suspicious vehicles.
After having been shown the New York Police Department’s toys, Johnson said he would talk to London’s police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to assess the need for a similar technology.
"What we need to do is to get a better understanding of the risks versus the investment," he added.
According to New York’s police chief Bill Bratton, the two biggest cities of the UK and the US frequently cooperate on safety issues and counterterrorism strategies.
"The NYPD has established strong ties with our London partners in sharing investigative strategies, intelligence and technological approaches to the on-going threats that face both of our cities," Bratton said.
Johnson’s visit comes a day after the two cities, together with authorities from San Francisco, revealed the amount of stolen iPhones has dropped since Apple started fitting the gadgets with the so called kill switches that allow users remotely shut down the gadgets in the case of theft.