I am heartened by HM The Queen's address at the recent State opening of Parliament. The first and foremost subject for Parliament to focus on right now is the defence of this nation from the threat of terrorism. The stark warning last week from Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, that her Agents are struggling to contain a rapidly-growing terrorist threat simply fills me with total horror. With 30 top-priority plots currently under investigation and intelligence reports that militants are actively trying to recruit teenagers as suicide bombers demands urgent attention from our Government. Her staff are said to be monitoring as many as 200 groupings or networks comprising of more than 1,600 individuals "who are actively engaged in plotting or facilitating , terrorists acts both here and overseas" Dame Eliza also said, "We need to be alert to attempts to radicalise and indoctrinate our youth and to seek to counter it." A warning such as that from such an eminent person really needs to be taken seriously and I concur with her sentiments. We must all sit up and take note. It will be very difficult for her Agents to infiltrate such groups simply by virtue of the age profile of those youngsters being targeted by the militants. We must not wait for another 9/11 or 7/7 before taking every conceivable initiative available to the security services to help protect us. I shall be flying to USA on vacation shortly and already I am feeling apprehensive. Isn't this exactly what the terrorists want us to feel like, living in constant fear of attack?.
I would like to ask the Prime Minister to consider establishing a fund to offer substantial cash rewards to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and subsequent conviction of anyone known or suspected of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. Something along the lines of what Crimestoppers do after an appalling crime. This initiative would be aimed at rewards for information before the catastrophe takes place. Prevention being the key factor. In any conspiracy there will always be a weak link who will be tempted by greed and the get rich quick mentality. Principles often go out of the window when such opportunities present themselves. Also, perhaps the case for compulsory ID cards should be given more serious consideration, as indeed should the extension of the period of detention before charge in suspected terrorist plots. With follow-up investigations overseas and de-encryption of computers taking weeks of labour intensive work it is plain that 28 days is insufficient time for the security services to complete their various tasks. Surely, with safeguards such as authorisation of extensions by a Judge or JP built in, it would not compromise our civil liberties that much.
The same applies to the gathering of incriminating evidence by phone taps with the same precautions. Every conceivable initiative must be used to protect our citizens. Our enemies, within or without, will not give our civil rights a second thought in pursuit of their objectives! With our borders and coastlines being wide open to infiltration and with an ever extending EU we cannot afford to be complacent any longer. Not to mention the radicalisation of our homegrown militants.
Just a thought.
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