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UK terror threat level ‘won’t change for years’

The terror threat level will remain at severe for at least the next five years, the senior UK counter terrorism officer at Scotland Yard has warned. Addressing the Police Superintendents’ Association annual conference, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the risk posed to the UK from terrorists was an ‘unknown threat in our midst’. He warned isolated communities and unregulated schooling in the UK were ‘breeding grounds’ for extremism. There are currently around 600 active counter terrorism investigations. The UK’s terror threat level has been at severe since October 2014, apart from when it was raised to critical for a short period after the Manchester Arena attack. Basu said he did not think the threat level would change before he retired in 2022, adding there had been a ‘shift’ in the amount of investigative activity. In the week after the attack in Manchester, 3,000 calls were made to the anti-terrorism hotline, but Basu said the authorities could not ‘arrest their way’ out of terrorism because there would be a ‘revolving door’ of suspects. He called for more resources to be devoted to Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism scheme, designed to support people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terrorist activities by focusing on schools, faith organisations, prisons and other communities where people can be at risk of radicalisation.


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