Published Wednesday, 02 January 2013
A police officer was targeted at his home on the Upper Newtownards Road. (© Pacemaker)
It comes after calls for additional PSNI officers to be recruited in the wake of Sunday's attempt to murder a policeman in the city.
A booby trap bomb was found under the family car of the off-duty police officer at his home in east Belfast.
The PSNI officer, his wife and two young children were about to leave their Upper Newtownards Road home for lunch when he spotted the device.
Dissident republicans are being blamed for the attack.
"Vigilance and luck will always be a major factor in disrupting these types of attacks," Michael Copeland told UTV. "The situation is, without a doubt, serious."
The UUP representative believes putting more officers on the street is not adequate in what he described as "an intelligence war".
"The public do take a degree of comfort from seeing police officers doing vehicle checkpoints and seeing police officers on the ground," he said.
The truth is, in my view, that does not represent an adequate or sensible use of a resource in an intelligence war.
Police say dissidents remain determined to kill members of the security forces, while senior security sources believe their aim is to achieve "multiple casualty attacks".
In 2012, police say they arrested 115 people suspected of dissident republican activity, and 35 were charged.
More than 60 officers have been forced to leave their homes during the past five years because of intelligence that they were being targeted for potential attack.
Others have had additional security measures like bulletproof glass installed in their homes.
The chairman of Northern Ireland's Police Federation is seeking a meeting with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to discuss officers' personal security and the recruitment of extra staff.
Terry Spence is also calling for 1,000 extra police officers to tackle the threat.
"It's the bare minimum that we need to see off this threat," he told UTV.
The Northern Ireland Office says the dissident threat level in Northern Ireland remains severe.
"The intent and capability of the dissident republicans remains significant as is their potential to carry out potentially lethal attacks," Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said in October last year.
"That should never be underestimated and we remain vigilant on these matters."
Her warning came on the eve of the murder of prison officer David Black, who was shot dead as he drove along the M1 motorway on his way to work at the high-security Maghaberry prison on 1 November.
© UTV News