UK unveils revamped counterterrorism strategy | News | DW | 04.06.2018
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UK unveils revamped counterterrorism strategy

Britain has announced a revised counterterrorism strategy that aims to disrupt terrorist threats earlier. The strategy comes amid reports that dozens of convicted extremists will be released from prison this year.

Britain on Monday unveiled a revamped counterterrorism strategy that will make it easier for security services to share intelligence information about potential extremists with local authorities.

Announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid in his first major speech, the strategy is designed to intervene in extremist attacks posed by Islamic State supporters and UK-based rightwing groups earlier.

Read more: Opinion: Helpless in the face of terrorism

The new strategy aims to:

  • Ensure the police and Crown Prosecution Service have the powers they need to enable intervention at an earlier stage in investigations
  • Boost intelligence cooperation between the domestic MI5 service and police as well as the private sector
  • Achieve longer prison sentences and better manage terrorist offenders following their release
  • Work closely with international partners including the Five Eyes partners, the EU and other allies
  • Remove terror-related material from the internet

'The threats are evolving'

The new "multi-agency approaches" will first be introduced in London, Manchester and the West Midlands, which includes the city of Birmingham.

Javid made the announcement a day after the one-year anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack that saw several people killed when a van ploughed into pedestrians before the attacker stabbed people at random.

"One of the lessons from 2017 was that we need to work more broadly and share that data more locally," Javid said, referring to the multiple extremist attacks that rocked Britain last year.

Javid said the threat of right-wing extremist attacks had also increased.

Read more: Opinion: Terror targets Muslims - an attack on Europe

"The Islamic State and right-wing groups have more in common than they acknowledge," he said. "They both exploit grievances, distort the truth and undermine the values that hold us together," he continued.

"The threats are evolving. We must evolve too," Javid said.

The home secretary said there were "anomalies" in British laws that needed to be updated to keep up with technology, such as regulations that make it "clearly illegal" to download videos that encourage terrorism but do not  forbid streaming them.

Extremist prisoners to be released: Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Monday that more than 80 of the 193 terror-related sentences handed down between 2007 and 2016 are due to expire this year. But the number of people released could be "much higher," it said, because prisoners are eligible for release midway through their sentences.

Major UK terror attacks in 2017: On March 22, six people including the attacker died and 50 were injured near the Houses of Parliament when Khalid Masood drove off the road and into pedestrians on Westminister Bridge before stabbing a policeman to death. On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. On June 3, a man drove into pedestrians on London Bridge before randomly stabbing people at Borough Market, killing seven and injuring 48. On June 19, a group of Muslim worshippers were hit when a car ploughed into them at Finsbury market, killing one man and injuring nine others.

law/kms (AFP, AP)

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