Thousands getting terror training
Thousands of UK workers are being trained to help respond to a future terror attack as part of an updated counter-terror strategy, ministers say.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said shop and hotel workers would be among 60,000 people able to deal with an incident.
The updated approach, aimed at tackling immediate terrorist threats and the causes of extremism, would be the most comprehensive in the world, she added.
But the Tories said not enough action was being taken against extremists.
The Home Office’s new counter-terrorism document – to be published on Tuesday – will go into more detail than ever before in the interests of public accountability.
It will reflect intelligence opinion that the biggest threat to the UK comes from al-Qaeda-linked groups and will also take 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.
“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.
The updated strategy will increase the focus on challenging individuals and groups who undermine the UK’s “shared values” – even if they are not breaking the law.
Gordon Brown said tens of thousands of civilians had already been trained in how to look out for suspicious behaviour in crowded places and to react in the event of an attack.
The prime minister 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
“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.”
The terrorism threat level, set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, has since July 2007 been “severe”.
Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling welcomed some of the proposals but said too little was being done to tackle the “root causes of extremism”.
Britain trains civilian anti-terror force
Britain has launched a clandestine alliance that recruits citizens and trains them to act as undercover agents against terror suspects.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the initiative is vital for safety in the UK. According to him, tens of thousands of civilians have already been trained for the purpose.
Brown said Sunday that the individuals range “from security guards to store managers” who know how 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 centers and sports grounds.”
Brown went on to claim that more than two-thirds of the plots threatening the UK are linked to Pakistan, saying al-Qaeda members in northern Pakistan and in alleged UK networks are attempting to organize attacks in Britain.
Dictionary definition of terrorism: “1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes, 2. the state of fear and submission,”
Who is putting the public in a state of fear, broadcasting it on air and getting it in the all news papers? Are they politicians?
Does fear justify intrusive governments and help build a paranoid/spy society?
Threat of ‘dirty bomb’ attack on Britain is increasing, warns Jacqui Smith
The risk of terrorists obtaining the material to mount a ‘dirty bomb’ attack in Britain is rising, the Government claimed today.
In a report to Parliament on the current state of the terrorist threat, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith claimed an increasing amount of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material has become available around the world and that it could fall into the hands of extremists living in Britain.
The study says that some of these substances are being sold via the internet and warns that the growing supply, coupled with an existing ‘demand’ among militants, means that new measures are needed to protect the public.
Today’s report says that British extremists have sought ‘dirty bomb’ material and suggests that they are more likely to succeed because substances are being trafficked more than ever around the world.
There is also a claim that a potentially growing threat is posed by ‘self-starting’ terror groups only loosely linked to Al Qaeda, which is likely to fragment in the coming years
The 160-page report, called Contest Two, updates a counter terrorist strategy-first published in 2003.
It says a number of factors are driving radicalisation, including discrimination, social and political grievances,
Miss Smith called for the use of “civil challenge” to those who hold extremist viewpoints.
She cited the example of the Muslim activists who recently protested at a homecoming parade in Luton for British forces returning from Iraq.
She said: “The civil challenge means that, if people feel it appropriate to demonstrate against our troops coming home from defending this country abroad, we – as Government and others – will say in turn that we think that that’s wrong.
“Not that they’ve broken the law – one of the things we’re defending in this country is the right to free speech, but that isn’t free speech that will go unhindered or unchallenged by either Government or, I think, the broader community.”
Unveiling the new Government counter-terrorism strategy, Miss Smith also said the ‘widest range’ of people needed to be enlisted to help deal with terrorist threats.
Shopping centre and store managers will be among 60,000 workers trained because security and intelligence agencies could not be ‘solely’ relied upon to tackle the threat.
Ms Smith said people needed to be ‘vigilant about the threat of an attack’ and to prepare for ‘what to do’ in the event of an atrocity.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: ‘I think we need to enlist the widest range of people to do that.’
The news comes as reports say Pakistan has revealed it has monitored more than 20 Britons believed to have trained with radical militant groups and then returned to the UK.
The men who have been tracked are believed to have trained with groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and are thought to pose a potential threat to British security.
Sky News has reported that a dossier of the names is expected to be handed over to security services.
The anti-terror initiative would see staff on rail networks, at airports, public buildings and sports venues taught to watch for ‘suspicious behaviour’
She identified ‘shopping centre managers, store managers, people who were responsible for the security in those areas’ as being key in the battle against terror.
‘We do know that in the past terrorist plots considered the use of, for example, a dirty bomb, which is why one of the elements of the strategy we are publishing today is to say that we need to build on the work that we’ve been doing to prevent those sort of materials getting into the country in the first place, tackling the way about how information about how you can use them is provided,’ she said.
Speaking in a separate interview on GMTV, she said detection and prevention measures needed to work in tandem to combat the issue.
‘In the short term we want to catch those people who are plotting to try and cause mass casualties,
‘But we also want to prevent people turning to terrorism and becoming violent extremists in the first place. That’s another important area of the strategy.’
Ms Smith said the threat of an attack, ahead of the G20 summit of world leaders in London next month, had been set at ‘severe’.
‘which means a threat is highly likely,’ she told the BBC.
‘It could happen without warning.
‘better intelligence and ways of tracking people, […] getting in early and preventing people turning to violent extremism in the first place.’
By 2011, Britain will be spending £3.5billion a year on counter-terrorism.
since 2003 […] the security service MI5 has doubled in size
But what happens when fear wears off? Click here.