Brits warned to expect threat of Islamist terrorists for at least another THIRTY years, former MI5 chief says
BRITAIN could face threats from Islamist extremists for another THIRTY years, a former MI5 chief has warned.
Jonathan, now Lord Evans, said the scale of the threat was “severe” and that cyber security would need to be boosted in future to combat the threat.
500 active investigations involving 3,000 subjects of interests are currently going on at any given time, he said.
Speaking to the BBC today, Lord Evans said that the threat would be unlikely to end soon, and it was a “generational problem”.
He warned: “We’re at least 20 years into this. My guess is that we will still be dealing with the long tail in over 20 years’ time.
“I think this is genuinely a generational problem. I think we are going to be facing 20 to 30 years of terrorist threat and therefore we need, absolutely critically, to persevere.”
The former boss, who stood down in 2013, said that the underlying threat of Islamist terrorism has persisted over the years.
Since 2013 there have been 19 attempted attacks on Britain – and a handful have been successful.
This year has seen four major terrorist incidents take place on British soil – in Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Manchester.
The news comes the day after Home Secretary Amber Rudd blasted teachers for trying to sabotage anti-terror Prevent programme, saying it was vital for saving lives.
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Lord Evans admitted that attacks such as those taking place in London in 2005, and after the Westminster attack had been “energised” as potential terrorists could see that it was possible to avoid capture.
And Lord Evans also warned that it was likely that Russia was trying to interfere in the UK’s democracy.
The crossbencher added: “Traditionally I think we have been seen as quite hawkish and therefore I would be surprised if there had not been attempts to interfere with the election.”
He also warned against weakening encryption, something ministers are keen to explore following the Westminster attacker’s use of the encrypted messaging app, WhatsApp back in March.
But he said was important to be seen as a country “in which people can operate securely” for commercial and national security reasons.
The Head of National Counter Terrorism Policing, Mark Rowley said this morning that the security services HAD to “improve” in order to combat an ever-changing threat.
“From time to time terrorist attacks will get through,” he admitted. “The threat is changing, it’s becoming broader and broader – we’re going to have to do even more.”