Before I impart my thoughts, opinions and ideas (some of which have been adopted), on how we, as a nation, could ensure the immediate and future safety of our citizens, I want to clarify a few points I believe to be true, and for you to keep these points in mind when and if, you read this. Some of you may agree with me? Some, will most definitely not!
- 99% of UK citizens, who follow the muslim religion, are NOT terrorists. The vast majority do NOT support any form of terrorism. And they do NOT follow Islamic extremism as an ideology.
- There is a certain level of apathy within the UK political establishment, at all levels, to make the hard decisions needed to protect all UK citizens and those who choose to visit our country. This insidious political mindset needs to change, and quickly.
- One of the basic principles of our human rights, is the right to life. But those who seek to take away this specific human right, should themselves have their human rights suspended.
There is no one solution to terrorism. There is no one solution to extremism. There is no one person who can affect the change our country needs. But we can change laws, enact further laws and put in place certain protocols and procedures which would significantly reduce the potential loss of innocent lives to terrorist atrocities.
In light of the prospect of a review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy after the London Bridge attack. Here is a summary of the main powers and tools currently deployed by authorities, courtesy of Forces.net;
Arrest and prosecution – Should more arrests be made? I say yes.
Counter-terrorism arrests have been running at or close to record levels in recent years.
Of the 260 arrests for terrorism-related offences last year, 96 had resulted in a charge by the middle of January.
Of those, 79 were terrorism-related and 17 non-terrorism-related. Others were released without charge, or bailed.
Electronic surveillance – Should surveillance be used on more suspects? I say yes.
Security services can deploy a range of tactics under the Investigatory Powers Act.
The techniques, which officials say are critical to national security investigations in the digital age, include: hoovering up data relating to phone calls, emails and text messages; intercepting suspects’ communications; and hacking into their devices such as smartphones and PCs.
Stops – are more stops required? I say yes.
Under the Terrorism Act, officers can stop individuals at ports, airports and international rail stations to determine whether they appear to be involved in terrorism.
Last year, nearly 20,000 people were examined under this power.
Terrorism prevention and investigation measures – should more TPIMs be put in place? I say most definitely yes.
TPIMs are used in cases where someone who is judged to pose a threat to security cannot be prosecuted, or in the case of foreign nationals, deported.
Subjects can be placed under restrictions including relocation to another part of the country, wearing an electronic monitoring tag and limited use of computers and phones.
At the end of November last year, there were seven TPIM notices in force – ONLY 7!
Measures to disrupt the return of fighters – More orders for ‘Temporary Exclusion from the United Kingdom’ for those known to have fought with terrorists.
Authorities can call on a number of powers to block or manage the return of UK citizens or foreign nationals suspected of engaging in terrorist activity abroad.
Powers to seize passports or deprive citizenship – These powers should be more widely used.
Police can temporarily confiscate the travel documents of people suspected of intending to travel to engage in terrorism-related activity abroad.
Air strikes overseas
The Government says it is vital for the UK to retain the right to deploy lethal force in self-defence and as a last resort against terror targets abroad.
In September 2015, it emerged that an RAF drone had killed two British jihadists in Syria the month before.
Anti-radicalisation schemes – this scheme should be rolled out into schools and mosques.
The Prevent programme aims to intervene early and provide support for those deemed to be at risk of being drawn into violent extremism.
There were around 7,500 referrals to the initiative in 2015/16. It has been credited with playing a role in disrupting more than 150 attempted journeys to Iraq and Syria.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said there would be an “uplift” in the programme.
Another law which should be used more is Section 38B(1) and (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it an offence if someone does not inform the police if he/she believes that someone they know is in preparation of acts of terrorism. The maximum sentence in respect of section38B is for a term not exceeding five years’ imprisonment, although it is a defence to prove that he/she had reasonable excuse for not making the disclosure.
A person commits an offence if he/she does not disclose the information to the police as soon as reasonably practicable.
In 2007 four would-be suicide bombers were been found guilty of conspiracy to murder after planning a coordinated attack designed to cause death and destruction on the London transport system. Those who assisted them were charged and convicted under s38B and received sentences of imprisonment ranging between 4 years 9 months and 13 years.
I also believe that internment for suspected terrorists should be brought back and there should be specific prisons for convicted terrorists, so they cannot recruit other people in prisons.
The Gov should re-purpose unused military bases to detain suspected and convicted terrorists.
The Gov should retrain some of the 8,000 homeless ex-service personnel to guard the re-purposed ‘terrorist’ detainment camps.
And, the Gov should also retrain some of the homeless ex-service personnel for a new Border Force.
You may not agree with my thoughts above, but then again you might? The point is that something needs to be done to combat the seeping encroachment of extremists and radicals within our society.