MI5 to lead fight against extreme rightwing terrorism
It has been reported that MI5 will take the lead in combating extreme rightwing terrorism amid increasing fears over violent racial conflict on Britain’s streets.
The Guardian claims that the move to swap responsibility from the police to the security service, meaning far right extremism is treated under the same bracket as Islamist terrorism and Northern Ireland-related terrorism, follows months of negotiations.
Since March last year, four extreme rightwing alleged plots have been thwarted in the UK, while there are approximately 100 investigations into the extreme rightwing currently live. As the threat is assessed as growing, the claims follow the recent incident in the US where a man has been charged with sending 13 pipe bombs to opponents of President Donald Trump, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The decision, which will see extreme rightwing activity now designated as posing a major threat to national security, means MI5 will now formally take responsibility for identifying suspects and assessing what danger they pose, conducting network analysis and ranking threats. It is hoped that the security service’s approach, techniques and greater powers will enable a better understanding of the violent intentions of the extreme right than the police can provide.
The far-right terror threat camegained attention after the assassination of the Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016.