The Terrorist Hunters

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The Terrorist Hunters
The Terrorist hunters.jpeg
The front cover of The Terrorist Hunters
Author Andy Hayman
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Bantam Press
Publication date
July 2009
Pages 334
ISBN 978-0-593-06586-0

The Terrorist Hunters (published 2009) is a controversial non-fiction book by former senior police officer Andy Hayman, co-written by Margaret Gilmore, about Hayman's role as head of the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Operations Division. The British Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, sought, and initially won, a High Court injunction against the publication of the book.[1] The book was reported to have sold 2,500 pre-order copies before the injunction was issued.[2]


The primary focus of The Terrorist Hunters is on the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the investigation it sparked as well as the role of the UK's security services, particularly the Met and MI5 in combating terrorism in the years after the attacks, though it also covers the investigation into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.[1][3]

The Terrorist Hunters is highly critical of the government's emergency committee, known as COBRA, of which Hayman was often a member, for spending "too much time discussing politics and not enough on urgent operational matters."[4] Hayman describes COBRA in the book and in interviews with The Times as "cumbersome, bureaucratic and overly political."[5]

Hayman also discusses Sir Ian Blair, former Met Commissioner, whom he described as a friend but of whom he later became highly critical in relation to a statement by the commissioner regarding the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national who was mistakenly shot dead by CO19 officers on the London underground after being misidentified as a suicide bomber the day after the failed 21 July 2005 London bombings.[5] He also questions whether his role and the role of other intelligence and emergency service officials attending the meetings were taken seriously enough[6] and recalls an exchange with Patricia Hewitt, then Secretary of State for Health during a COBRA meeting in the immediate aftermath of the 7 July bombings, about the number of scenes at which the bombers had struck.[7]

The Terrorist Hunters goes on to deal with events in 2007, when an attack was launched on Glasgow International Airport on the same day as two attempted car bombings in London. Hayman praises Strathclyde Police for their cooperation in the subsequent investigations, though is critical of Alex Salmond, then Scottish First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party, accusing Salmond of waging a "turf war" over control of the Glasgow suspects in "some amazing playground antics",[8] a claim which was strongly denied by Salmond and the SNP.[9]

Within the book, Hayman also calls for an official public inquiry into the events of 7 July 2005.[10]


On 1 July 2009, the English High Court issued a temporary injunction against the sale of The Terrorist Hunters after a hearing requested by Baroness Scotland QC, the Attorney General. The reason given for the injunction was "legal reasons relating to ongoing criminal proceedings",[2][11] the Crown Prosecution Service fearing a passage in the book might influence jury members of a pending trial.[12] When the injunction ran out the book returned to sale unedited and a paperback edition was published in October 2009.[13]


Prior to its release, copies of The Terrorist Hunters were provided to the Cabinet Office, MI5, MI6 and the Crown Prosecution Service for approval, prompting Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson to suggest the Metropolitan Police Authority, the force's governing body, review whether senior officers should be allowed to publish such books in the future.[11] The book, published by Bantam Press was serialised in British broadsheet newspaper The Times prior to its release.[11]


  1. ^ a b Greenwood, Chris (3 July 2009). "Top counter-terrorist officer's book barred". The Scotsman. Edinburgh: Johnston Press. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Jariwalla, Waheedan (4 July 2009). "Injunction Temporarily Bans Sales of The Terrorist Hunters". London: Lawdit Commercial Solicitors. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Litvinenko book banned". Moscow News. Moscow. 06/07/2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Slack, James (3 July 2009). "New Spycatcher row as Attorney General blocks ex-terror police chief's book... even though it already appears in shops". The Daily Mail. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b O'Neil, Sean (June 22, 2009). "Cobra emergency committee 'slows everything down'". The Times. London: News International. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Hayman, Andy (June 22, 2009). "Cobra, the UK emergency committee that makes chaos out of a crisis". The Times. London: Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Hayman, Andy (June 20, 2009). "No warning, no links, no leads: 7/7 bombings were a bolt out of nowhere". The Times. London: Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  8. ^ McGinty, Stephen (12 July 2009). "SNP accused of 'hissy fits' over bombers' trial". The Scotsman. Edinburgh: The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  9. ^ SETTLE, MICHAEL (13 Jul 2009). "Bombing 'hissy fits' by Salmond dismissed as nonsense". The Herald (Glasgow). Glasgow: Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "Ex-terror chief seeks 7/7 inquiry". BBC News. London: The British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Book by UK counter-terrorism officer blocked". The Irish Times. Dublin: Irish Times Trust. July 3, 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  12. ^ The Terrorist Hunters Retrieved 12 March 2010
  13. ^ Tesco still censoring The Terrorist Hunters by Andy Hayman 30 January 2010 Retrieved 12 March 2010