The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

UK plans comprehensive terror law

UK flagThe UK is planning an updated anti-terror strategy aimed at tackling the immediate threat of terrorism and the longer-term causes of extremism.

The Home Office says the proposal would give the UK the most comprehensive counter-terror strategy in the world.

A paper will reflect intelligence opinion that the biggest threat to the UK comes from al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Gordon Brown says tens of thousands of Britons such as retailers had now been trained to deal with a terror incident.

‘Closed doors’

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith wants the paper – to be published on Tuesday – to go into more detail than ever before in the interests of public accountability.

It takes into account recent attacks on hotels in the Indian city of Mumbai.

Ms Smith told BBC One’s Politics Show: “What we’re completely clear about is that if we’re going to address the threat from terrorism, we need to do that alongside the 60,000 people that we’re now training up to respond to a terrorist threat, in everywhere from our shopping centres to our hotels.

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“We need to do it alongside the 3,000 police officers now working on counter-terror, and we need to do it with international partners.

“This is no longer something you can do behind closed doors and in secret.”

The paper – called Contest Two – will update the Contest strategy developed by the Home Office in 2003, which was later detailed in the Countering International Terrorism document released in 2006.

Over the last six years the strategy has been split into four strands – Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare – to try to hamper all aspects of the terror threat.

These include preventing radicalisation of potential terror recruits to disrupting terrorist operations, reducing the UK’s vulnerability and ensuring Britain is ready for the consequences of any terror attack.

Prime Minister Mr Brown told the Observer: “Today, not only the police and security and intelligence officers and our armed forces, but also the emergency services, local councils, businesses and community groups are involved in state-of-the-art contingency planning.

“Tens of thousands of men and women throughout Britain – from security guards to store managers – have now been trained and equipped to deal with an incident and know what to watch for as people go about their daily business in crowded places such as stations, airports, shopping centres and sports grounds.”

A Home Office spokesman said the new paper would take account of the way the terror threat has evolved and how the authorities are learning lessons from events.

While the paper would look into the lessons learned from the November attacks in Mumbai, it is not thought attacks are likely on hotels in the UK.

The terrorism threat level, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, has since July 2007 been “severe”. This means a future terrorist attack is thought to be highly likely – but not thought to be imminent.

By 2011, Britain will be spending £3.5bn a year on counter-terrorism, the Home Office has said.

The number of police working on counter-terrorism has risen to 3,000 from 1,700 in 2003.

Source: BBC News

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