Extra 1,000 spies to bolster Britain’s security against terrorism

Technology companies will also be called on to do more to tackle extremist content posted online

London: Suspected British terrorists will be monitored more closely and convicted terrorists given longer prison sentences as part of a package of counter-terrorism measures to be unveiled Monday.

Technology companies will also be called on to do more to tackle extremist content posted online, while new powers will be introduced to fast-track terror suspects to jail before they have finalised any plans for an attack.

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, is also expected to announce a fresh approach to targeting the growing threat of Right-wing extremism, illustrating how potential sources of terrorism have become increasingly diverse.

His speech follows a review of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, known as Contest, and coincides with the anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market attack.

It comes as the family of James McMullan, the only British person killed in the attack, told The Sunday Telegraph how they felt abandoned by the authorities and have been barred from fitting a bronze plaque at the spot where he was murdered.

At Southwark Cathedral, a service of commemoration will be held to remember the victims of the terrorist attack in the afternoon.

The Home Office on Saturday warned that Britain faces a severe threat from Islamist terrorism for at least another two years. MI5 and counter-terrorism police are currently running more than 500 live operations involving roughly 3,000 “subjects of interest” at any one time.

However, more than 20,000 people who have previously been investigated and categorised as a “closed subject of interest” could still pose a threat.

Salman Abedi was categorised as one such individual at the time of his attack at the Manchester Arena last year, which resulted in 22 people being killed and hundreds injured.

A report by David Anderson QC into four of the five attacks of 2017 concluded that the Manchester Arena attack “might have been averted” if two pieces of intelligence about Abedi had been interpreted differently by MI5.

The new security measures to be unveiled are expected to focus on the importance of trying to spot those like Abedi who may have become radicalised again. An extra 1,000 security services staff will also be recruited to collect and analyse data as well as keep suspects under better surveillance.

MI5 will also be expected to share information about suspected extremists more widely with other organisations, including local councils and neighbourhood policing units.

Extra resources will be provided for areas such as Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester to help monitor Muslim extremists.

Mr Javid, who will attend the memorial service to mark the anniversary of the London Bridge attack Sunday, said: “The Government is absolutely committed to doing everything possible to tackle the terrorist threat. It is my first priority every day in this job. We are working with the police, intelligence and security agencies, the private and public sector and international partners to make sure we have the best plans in place.”

Ahead of today’s commemorative events, which will also include a minute’s silence to remember the eight people murdered, Theresa May said that the capital’s resolve against terrorism had never been stronger.

“My message to those who seek to target our way of life or try to divide us is clear — our resolve to stand firm and overcome this threat together has never been stronger,” the Prime Minister said.

Security agencies and police have foiled 12 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots since March last year.

—The Sunday Telegraph

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