Significant gaps identified in England's WMD strategy

England has identified significant gaps in its ability to prevent and cope with the aftermath of a terrorist attack utilizing nuclear or chemical weapons, the Daily Mail has reported.

England's Home Office has warned that a terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction is "more realistic" than ever before and noted that intelligence chiefs have been working to prevent any sort of dirty bomb attack at the London Olympics.

Lord West, England's security minister, made the assessment of the nation's abilities in the nation's first counter-terrorism strategy for prevention of dirty bomb attacks.

Lord West's document reveals that a still classified review of counterterrorism-related work since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States has identified the gaps in the nation's security services' capabilities, including a need for further stockpiling of drugs and vaccines.

The report also calls for more work in the detection of use of biological, chemical and nuclear materials at the scene of an attack. The report says that the increase in the risk of a dirty bomb attack stems from an increase in the trafficking o material that can be used in WMDs.

"It isn't helpful having these shortages identified now. They should have been rectified months ago," Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Commons sub-committee on counter-terrorism, told the Daily Mail. "I absolutely welcome the openness of this report and it's taken the Government far too long to realise how important it is to keep the public informed."

Also noted in the report is the fact that there were 200 arrests for terrorism in the U.K. in the year prior to last September, up from 178 in the previous year. Additionally, there were 1,562 thefts and losses of potentially lethal material worldwide, with two out of three of those never recovered.