Saturday, November 30, 2019

Working to keep Britain Safe

Conservatives are ensuring counter terrorism policing has the resources it needs.

At the Spending Round we announced that the budget for counter-terrorism policing would increase in line with inflation, including continuing the additional £160 million announced at Budget 2018, which maintains current counter-terrorism capability and protects officer numbers (HMT, Spending Round 2019, 4 September 2019).

We are developing a new Counter-Extremism Strategy to keep people safe. In October our Commission for Countering Extremism published its report, which will inform our new Counter-Extremism Strategy. Our 2015 Counter-Extremism Strategy was the first of its kind anywhere in the world, and our new strategy will reflect the changing nature we face from extremism whilst building on the positive work already delivered (Home Office, Blog, 7 October 2019).

We are taking action to ensure there is no safe place for terrorists online. We will legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online – including ensuring there is no safe space for terrorists to hide online
(Conservative Party, Manifesto 2019, 24 November 2019; HO/DCMS, Online Harms White Paper, 26 June 2019).

In October this year we signed a landmark agreement with the US which will make it dramatically easier and faster to obtain data from US technology companies, including terrorist content (HO, UK/US Data Access Agreement).

We are working to improve the safety and security of public venues, following the terrible events in Manchester in 2017 (Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, 24 November 2019).

We’ve committed to update the Human Rights Act so that our security services can defend our country against terrorism. Our 2019 Manifesto states: ‘The ability of our security services to defend us against terrorism and organised crime is critical. We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government’. 

This could include things like ensuring we can extradite or deport those who threaten us (Conservative Party, Manifesto 2019, 24 November 2019).

We’re putting 20,000 more police on our streets and giving them the powers they need to keep us safe. More police on the streets will aid our response to terror incidents, and powers such as stop and search will enable them to identify and apprehend knife carriers.

We will end freedom of movement, making it harder for those who intend to cause us harm to enter the UK and easier to deport those who commit offences. Free movement means any EU criminals can come and reside in the UK, but we will take back control of our borders and keep track of those who come in and out of our country.

In government the Conservative Party has extended counter-terrorism powers. The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act gives the UK greater powers to crackdown on hostile state activity, ensures sentencing for certain terrorism offences can properly reflect the severity of the crimes, and prevents re-offending and disrupting terrorist activity more rapidly.

The Act also updated existing counter-terrorism legislation to reflect the digital age including the way in which people view content online. It also reflects the speed at which terrorism plots develop (Home Office, News Story, 12 February 2019).

We are stepping up our efforts to tackle far-right extremism. Following the terrorist attacks in 2017, the joint MI5 and counter-terrorism policing Operational Improvement Review proposed an increased role for MI5 and the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre in extreme right-wing terrorism. Our counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, addresses all forms of terrorism in order to ensure that no individual or group whatever their ideology, is free to spread hate or incite violence (Home Office, Blog, 20 September 2019).

We are taking step to encourage integration and openness, addressing the root causes of extremism. We are tackling prejudice, racism and discrimination wherever it occurs while working to break down the barriers which hold different groups face (Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, 24 November 2019).

No comments: