By Glynn Cosker
Editor, In Homeland Security
Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May issued a stark warning Monday regarding possible terrorist threats to the United Kingdom, stating that authorities had already stymied around 40 terrorist plots since the London bombings of July 7, 2005, which killed 52 people.
“When the security and intelligence agencies tell us that the threat we face is now more dangerous than at any time before or since 9/11 we should take notice,” the Home Secretary (interior minister) told an event in London days before the unveiling of her new counter-terrorism bill. “There have been attempts to conduct marauding ‘Mumbai-style’ gun attacks on our streets, blow up the London Stock Exchange, bring down airliners, assassinate a British Ambassador and murder serving members of our armed forces.”
May reported that since April 2010, some 753 people were arrested for terror-related offenses and—of those individuals—148 were subsequently convicted. Earlier this year, Britain’s terror threat level increased from “substantial” to “severe” in light of deadly conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
May’s counter-terrorism and security bill is set for publication Wednesday and includes:
- A requirement that schools and colleges step up efforts to prevent students becoming radicalized
- Changes to TPIMs (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) which will allow officials to forcibly move terror suspects to another part of the country
- More powers to cancel the passports for people flying abroad for suspected terrorist activities
- Statutory temporary exclusion orders to control returning British citizens suspected of terrorist activity
- A provision ordering airlines to supply data more quickly and efficiently
- Forcing business to provide the identity of any individual using a company computer or mobile phone at a given time
May stated that she had barred 84 “hate-preachers” from admission to the U.K. and had excluded 61 people on national security grounds. She also stated that she had not allowed a further 72 people across Britain’s borders because their arrival in the country “would not have been conducive to the public good.”