UK now monitoring "30 active terror plots" 2,000 individuals and 200 networks - plans to bring over "moderate"Pakistani clerics
Despite increase in terrorism threat UK nixes 42 day detention plan
Smith says monitoring 30 U.K. terrorism plotsSun Apr 13, 2008 11:52am BST LONDON (Reuters) - British police and security agencies are currently monitoring 30 terrorism plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in extracts of a newspaper interview released on Saturday.
"We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing," she said in an interview to be published in Sunday's News of the World.
"We task the police and the security agencies with protecting us ... There are 2,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots," she said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour government is seeking to extend pre-charge detention of terrorism suspects to 42 days from the current 28-day limit. But Smith faces a tough task steering the controversial provisions through parliament. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have both said they will vote against extended detention. Labour backbenchers are also threatening to rebel and vote down the clause in the Counter-Terrorism Bill. "We can't wait for an attack to succeed and then rush in new powers," Smith said. "We've got to stay ahead. "Because we now understand the scale of what is being plotted, the police have to step in earlier, which means they need more time to put evidence together."
Britain has seen a marked increase in militant Islamist plots since it joined the United States in invading Iraq in 2003. In 2005 four British suicide bombers killed 52 people in London. Other attempts have been thwarted by police or failed when devices did not detonate. "Since the beginning of 2007, 57 people have been convicted on terrorist plots," said Smith. "Nearly half of those pleaded guilty so this is not some figment of the imagination. It is a real risk and a real issue we need to respond to." (Reporting by Tim Castle, Editing by Paul Majendie) http://uk.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUKL1248595720080413
MIM: If you can't beat them join them it seems. Since the majority of Muslims in the UK are Pakistani Home Secretary Jacqui Smith plans to bring over non existent "moderate" Pakistani clerics to combat extremism amongst them.
30 plots on UK
Jacqui Smith reveals new terror threat
By Ian Kirby
HOME Secretary Jacqui Smith last night revealed security forces are investigating THIRTY deadly terror plots which threaten mayhem across Britain.
She told the News of the World: "We now face a threat level that is severe. It's actually growing.
"There are 2,000 individuals who are being monitored. There are 200 networks involved and 30 active plots."
And she warned the menace of Islamic fanatics is mounting so fast that police will be unable to cope within a year—unless they are given new powers to lock up terror suspects for longer.
At present cops can hold suspects for up to 28 days, but the Home Office wants that increased to 42 days.
"We can't wait for an attack to succeed and then rush in new powers," said Mrs Smith. "We have got to stay ahead.
"Because we now understand the scale of what is being plotted, the police have to step in earlier—which means they need more time to put evidence together.
"We task the police and the security agencies with protecting us. Frankly, if they say to me it's getting more difficult and we need more time to investigate thoroughly, it is my duty to provide them with the tools they need. "The danger has increased over the past two years. Since the beginning of 2007, there have been 57 people convicted on terrorist plots. "Nearly half of those pleaded guilty—so this is not some figment of the imagination. It is a real risk and a real issue we need to respond to." In our exclusive interview Mrs Smith also revealed that in 2001, at the time of the 9/11 bombings, Britain's anti-terror cops seized and analysed just ONE computer and no computer discs.
Yet by last year their haul had risen to a staggering 400 computers and 8,000 computer discs containing BILLIONS of vital items of data. At the same time, the records held by Scotland Yard's anti-terror force have soared from 69,000 files four years ago to 200,000 this year. The Home Secretary also pointed out that before the detention period for suspects was raised from its original 14 days to 28, many people argued the new law was unnecessary because the powers would never need to be used. But Mrs Smith said: "Well, we did need to. Since that time we have needed to hold 11 people for longer than 14 days—and six of them for a total of 28 days. "The complexity of these plots is growing and the number of international investigations is greater than before. Each time a plot is uncovered, the terrorists learn and they develop. "That's why there is a massive increase in the way they are using technology and encrypting information. So it takes time to get the evidence you need to charge somebody." This week the Home Secretary will step up the government's "Prevent" campaign—its battle against Islamic extremists who preach hate and indoctrinate potential jihadi recruits.
On Wednesday she will announce a new deal she struck with the Pakistani government on a visit last week. It will allow respected moderate Islamic clerics to be brought over from Pakistan to help British imams combat extremism in the Islamic communities. Mrs Smith explained: "The vast majority of British Muslims have a Pakistani heritage. If we work with the government there we can win the arguments. "We need to do more to tackle those places where radicalisation is developing—in prisons, schools, higher education—so that people are getting the right messages about what it means to be a British Muslim." She added: "We will also work to ensure we identify vulnerable people being groomed for terror—in the same way we protect young people from being dragged into crime and abuse."
In a News of the World interview, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said 30 terror plots were being investigated and police needed to be able to detain suspects for longer. Detail scrutinised Ms Smith said: "We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing. "There are 2,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots. "That has increased over the past two years. Since the beginning of 2007, 57 people have been convicted on terrorist plots... "We can't wait for an attack to succeed and then rush in new powers. We've got to stay ahead." In November, Jonathan Evans, MI5's director general, spoke of 2,000 people posing a threat to the UK - the same number quoted by the home secretary. But he went on to say that the number had not peaked. The Counter Terrorism Bill passed its first Parliamentary hurdle earlier this month when it was given an unopposed second reading but it now goes to committee stage where MPs will scrutinise the detail.
Under the new proposals, the home secretary would be able to immediately extend the detention limit of a suspect from 28 to 42 days, as long as it was supported by a joint report by a chief constable and the director of public prosecutions. The extension would then have to be approved by the Commons and the Lords within 30 days. But if either House voted against it, the power would end at midnight on the day of the debate. Keith Vaz questioned why 42 days was needed if the government now agreed to post-charge questioning. "If they agree the three points set out in the Home Affairs Committee report, I will support them. That would mean the vote is much closer. "If the committee votes with the government it would bring about 20 waverers on-side. If not, they're likely to lose." The proposals are supported by some senior police officers but, if passed, could face a court challenge from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
In 2005, the government was defeated over proposals to extend the limit to 90 days. Tony Blair's former attorney-general, Lord Goldsmith, reiterated his opposition to the 42-day limit and told Sky News ministers were embarked on a wrong course. "I still hope that they may see that ultimately it doesn't make sense to pursue this, and they will get huge support from a lot of other people - from me in particular - for all the other steps that they want to take in order that we have a tough, firm but fair policy on prevention of terrorism." Health Secretary Alan Johnson told the BBC he was "absolutely certain" the government would get the policy through the Commons. He said the argument about whether to extend the time would "reverberate around Parliament" in coming weeks, but pledged the government would listen to MPs' views.
Conservative security spokeswoman, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones,said: "What you need if you've got an increase in plots is the right quantum of resources for both the police and the intelligence services to track and disrupt the plots - and that's a question of bringing resources to bear." Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "We have a 92% conviction rate on terrorist offences. For heavens sake, that's far higher than on ordinary criminal cases. "So what on earth is the government on about in saying that we need to go further than any comparable country has anywhere else in the world?"
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