New year’s eve 2000: attacks, burglaries and faulty alarm systems

The British police ruses for the celebrations and the Y2K problem

Although governments like to be sure about the effects of the Y2K problem, concerns seem to be growing as the millennium approaches. Recently, the British Home Secretary not only urged the British police to rid their systems of the millennium bug, but also warned of the problems it would cause in the transition to the new year.

It is likely, Jack Straw said, that the millennium bug will be caught despite all precautions – z. B. Action 2000 – some computer and telecommunication systems affect. However, unlike the usual New Year’s Eve celebrations, this time, given the symbolic date, rougher operations were to be expected, and, moreover, problems that could arise from errors in computer systems had to be anticipated: "We must be prepared for anything that can go wrong." Straw urged security forces to set up contingency plans and coordinate with other emergency services. Police forces were not allowed to go on vacation at the turn of the year, plans were developed to involve the military if key systems break down, and a committee has been set up to review bug fixes in police computer systems.

In addition, a special force of 1,400 men is being set up in the UK to be on alert during the New Year amid fears that criminals could use possible security system failures to carry out their activities. If the millennium bug causes disruptions in the alarm systems of banks, security services or companies, the doors will certainly be open to criminals, who may also believe that the police are otherwise engaged in maintaining order. It is also possible that many people go on vacation during this period, which means that private homes – with or without alarm systems – are also at risk.

There is no real evidence yet of such planning by criminals, but the Times "we must realize", The Times quotes a National Crime Squad official as saying, "that there are great possibilities for organized crime if the alarm systems fail."

But organized crime is not the only threat. Scotland Yard has considered other possibilities that could occur at the turn of the millennium. There is an expectation that religious groups in a doomsday mood could use the New Year to commit suicide or carry out terrorist attacks. Monte Kim Miller, the leader of the Concerned Christians sect, is currently believed to be in the UK. The sect had announced to commit collective suicide in Jerusalem in December 1999. In the meantime, some of the sect members, who were subsequently arrested by the Israeli police, have been sent back home. Brian Younger of Scotland Yard told the Telegraph that they suspected the cult leader could have chosen the Millennium Dome for a spectacular operation. But the Dome could also be a symbolic target for other sects or terrorist groups. Scotland Yard therefore wants to guard the Dome around the clock from next month.

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