Segregated communities are “breeding grounds” for Islamic extremism, and the risk of attack from overseas has been replaced by the threat posed by homegrown terrorists, a senior counter-terrorism officer has said.
Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association annual conference, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: “The threat was the traveller or the returning fighter, who was battle-hardened and even angrier, but now it’s the threat in our midst,” reports the BBC.
Mr. Basu also said that unregulated schools were “breeding grounds” for Islamic extremism, noting there is a “definite problem in segregated and isolated communities and with what I think is an even more extreme second generation”.
The threat level would also likely stay at “severe” for another five years, after remaining at that level almost continuously since 2014.
For a short period, it was raised to “critical” following the Manchester Arena attack when the son of Libyan refugees Islamist Salman Abedi detonated a suicide vest at an Ariana Grande concert, deliberating targeting families, young women, and children, in an attack that killed 22 people, including an eight-year-old girl.
Former MI5 Boss: UK Facing Thirty Years of Islamist Terror Threat
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 11, 2017
The deputy assistant commissioner also confirmed that security services were investigating 600 extremist plots with 60 investigations being opened in the past six weeks alone, and pointed to border checks at ferry ports being a weak point for national security.
“Borders and ports are porous. There is a lack of biometrics and advanced passenger information. Our borders are not badly controlled but nevertheless, they are still vulnerable,” he said.
In January, Breitbart London spoke to Henry Bolton, the former head of the Borders Unit at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who told the website that “successive governments have dismantled the layered mosaic of border security” which once protected Britain’s coast, leaving the country vulnerable to returning foreign fighters and other terrorists.
23,000 Jihadists, the vast majority of whom MI5 and the Police don't have the time, money, or people to watch https://t.co/goUgrrIa73
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 27, 2017
Mr. Basu called for more resources to be devoted to the Prevent Strategy, the government’s anti-terrorism programme which aims to support people at risk of radicalisation, joining extremist groups, or carrying out terrorist activities, which he described as the “most important pillar” of the counter-terror strategy.
He also emphasised the importance of police officers, adding: “That’s why we can’t afford further cuts to wider policing, even if we remain safe with the CT [counter-terrorism] grant”.