30 plots on UK
Jacqui Smith reveals new terror threat
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.”