Britain revises counter-terrorism strategy

Reuters
Britain will counter what it calls a "step change" in the threat posed by militants with a revised counter-terrorism strategy published yesterday.
Reuters

Britain will counter what it calls a “step change” in the threat posed by militants with a revised counter-terrorism strategy published Monday that looks to harness technology, share information more widely, and strengthen ties with businesses.

Interior Minister Sajid Javid said the new strategy incorporated lessons from attacks in London and Manchester last year and would help Britain tackle an evolving threat.

The ministry warned on Sunday that the threat posed by Islamist militants to Britain is expected to remain high for the next two years and could even rise.

“The threat from terrorism is one of the starkest we face and it is clear there has been a step change,” Javid said at the launch of the revised strategy.

He said the time between being radicalized and planning an attack was shorter than in the past, that radicalization was happening more frequently online, and that everyday items were being used to carry out plots.

The launch gave Javid, who was appointed in April after the resignation of a close ally of Prime Minister Theresa May, a chance to stamp his authority on Britain’s security agenda.

Javid said Muslims were not responsible “for the acts of a tiny minority who twist their faith” and that there was a unique role for them to play in the fight against extremists.

“British Muslims up and down the country are leading the fight against Islamist extremists, by throwing them out of their mosques and by countering poison online and on the streets,” he said.

While Islamist militants pose the biggest threat, the risks from far-right extremism are also growing, he said.

The government will trial more information sharing by intelligence agencies and the police with bodies such as local authorities “to improve our understanding of those at risk of involvement in terrorism and enable a wider range of interventions.”

The strategy will also target better information-sharing, including with businesses, to speed up flagging of suspicious purchases, improve security at crowded places, and reduce the vulnerability of infrastructure.

It will also look to tap private sector and academic expertise to harness data analytics and machine learning to improve detection.

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