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Britain announces plans to ramp up cyber security after Paris attacks

British Prime Minister Cameron has announced an additional two billion pounds (2.85 billion euros) in public spending to finance the country's anti-terrorism forces. He also pledged a renewed focus on cybersecurity.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said that the new funds would be used over the next five years to buy weapons, vehicles, protective equipment, night-fighting gear and

communications technology

. He added that the size of Britain's intelligence agency staff members would be increased by 15 percent.

Cameron underscored that Britain needed to "increase both its hard and soft power," saying that "the reality is that there are times when you do need to be able to deploy military force."

Government Communications Headquarters

The new Budget specifies an additional 1,900 staff member to be recruited to Britain's GCHQ intelligence agency

"And if you don't have it, you can't deploy it," he said.

Prime Minister Cameron had also told BBC Radio earlier that

British police had stopped at least seven terrorist attacks

in the last six months alone.

The head of London's Metropolitan Police added that police across the UK were making an average of one terrorism-related arrest each day.

Focus on cyber security

UK finance minister George Osborne added that Britain would double the funds allocated to cyber security in particular. He stressed that the

attacks in Paris

had underscored Britain's need to

improve protections

against online attacks. The self-declared "Islamic State" group had

claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks

.

Paris attack survivor

The attacks in Paris, which saw 130 people killed, prompted several governments to revise safety measures

"They have not been able to use it to kill people yet by attacking our infrastructure through a cyber attack," Osborne said.

"But we know they want it and are doing their best to build it."

Osborne specified that Britain's public spending on cyber security would effectively double to a total of 1.9 billion pounds (2.7 billion euros) until 2020 - despite further austerity measures expected to be announced next week. The chancellor said that the decision to ramp up cyber defense had already been taken before the bloodshed in Paris, which saw more than 130 people killed. The funds would help to finance a new national cyber security plan, featuring a dedicated force to ensure faster and more effective responses to major online attacks.

"It is right that we choose to invest in our cyber defenses even at a time when we must cut other budgets," he said.

Policy review in the wake of Paris massacre

Home Secretary Theresa May meanwhile told parliament that the government would conduct an "urgent" review of policies to respond to threats posed by firearms attacks like those carried out in Paris last week in order "to ensure that any lessons are learnt." May also said that a number of serious plots had been disrupted in the UK in past months alone.

The Home Secretary had told reporters earlier that British police were "working very closely with their counterparts in France and Belgium to identify all those involved" in the Paris attacks.

ss/jil (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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