Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Terror threat 'blind spots' warning

British intelligence agencies have "more blind spots" when monitoring potential terrorist threats than five years ago, the country's top anti-terror police officer has said.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said the revelations by former US data analyst Edward Snowden and advances in technology left counter-terrorism detectives at Scotland Yard operating on a "shaky platform".

It comes after three men appeared in court yesterday over an alleged terrorist plot, following a police operation three days before Remembrance Day.

Mr Rowley, head of counter-terrorism for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), told the Times: "We are less capable and have more blind spots than we had five years ago."

"Since the Snowden episode and with technology developments our intelligence picture is less good than it was - both domestic and international - and that makes operations harder to run."

He also suggested powers to relocate terrorism suspects would make a "big difference" after shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for them to be reintroduced in the Commons this week.

"If you have significant information that somebody is a terrorist risk and despite all your best efforts you cannot build a case to put them in prison - really the state has two choices: either to say we'll accept that risk or put in measures where you have some controls around people.

"It's a political decision, but our experience is that for people in many of the situations we deal with the ability to relocate would make a big difference."

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims) were introduced under the coalition government to replace the previous Labour government's control orders, which did include relocation powers.

Labour frontbencher Ms Cooper claimed that Theresa May's introduction of Tpims is failing to manage the risk of terror suspects after it was reported that a 26-year-old man fled the UK in the back of a lorry apparently bound for Syria or Iraq.

The Home Secretary replied that the Government would be looking at Tpims in the new Counter Terrorism Bill, which she was bringing forward.


From Belfast Telegraph