More than half of those surveyed following the Manchester terror attack agree that British citizens who travel to Syria to fight with jihadist groups should not be allowed to return to Britain.
When respondents were asked what should happen to “British citizens who have travelled to fight in Syria, Libya or other warzones and then seek to return to Britain”, 55 per cent agreed they should “be blocked from re-entering Britain”.
Twenty-two per cent thought British foreign fighters should “be allowed to re-enter Britain, but be monitored by the security services and have restrictions placed on their freedom”. Eight per cent thought they should be prosecuted and sent to prison, and only three per cent thought they should be “allowed to enter without any special restrictions” (12 per cent did not know).
This response comes following revelations that Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi had been to Libya within the last month, and that his father was a member of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
Breitbart London reported that MI5 had an open door policy for Libyan heritage British passport holders, including associates of the Manchester bomber, to return to the war-torn nation to fight alongside jihadist and al Qaeda-linked groups in 2011.
Respondents were also asked their opinion on the Government’s anti-terrorism programme, PREVENT, which seeks to identify people who are at risk of being radicalised, and 73 per cent agreed that the programme was appropriate.
In terms of intelligence sharing, a majority, 70 per cent, think it is right that Britain shares her counter-terrorism information with the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (known as the Five Eyes).
This high positive response comes despite a major leak of British intelligence last week when images of pieces of the explosive device from Monday’s attack were revealed by American security services to The New York Times. This, and other leaks, led to British police briefly suspending intelligence sharing with the U.S.
The data also showed substantial support for soldiers, as part of Operation Temperer, to be on the streets supporting police (80 per cent), and in the majority, respondents (45 per cent) are in favour of all police officers routinely carrying guns.
The survey of 2,003 adults was conducted between the 25th and 26th of May by The Sunday Times and YouGov.