Andre Walker argues the terror register should be expanded to include those suspected of participating in terror related activity.
Last Friday’s terror attack on the London Underground has once again sparked a row between Theresa May and Donald Trump on Britain’s response to terrorism. The President was up early on Friday morning tweeting comments that implied Scotland Yard knows who the terrorists are but is failing to act.
What makes him think the police know who the terrorists are?
The answer is actually remarkably simple: Inspire Magazine, published by Al-Qaeda jihadism advises its readers how to make bombs. One of the methods it has laid out is the use of Christmas fairy lights as part of a trigger.
If you look closely at the pictures of the Parson’s Green bomb that have been posted on Social Media you can clearly see fairy lights.
This magazine has been downloaded 50,000 times in the UK and is read by 4,000 people per week. That, in of itself, is pretty shocking, but what is more shocking is that the Police appear to have taken no action against the people doing the downloading.
The Metropolitan Police have previously threatened to arrest people who download terrorist material, which it says is illegal. Their claim did spark a legal debate about whether the 2006 Terrorist Act made these documents illegal but certainly anyone intending to use their knowledge could be prosecuted.
But the threat to arrest those involved in downloading remains hollow, despite the fact the methods laid out in Inspire was used in numerous attacks. Including the attempt to blow up a “high-speed rail line” in 2015 by a 29-year-old terrorist, Zahid Hussain.
Inspire is a magazine that tells you how to build a bomb and encourages you to use it: surely that act must provide enough suspicion to warrant arresting the person and seizing their computer. I’d be willing to bet that arresting these people would unearth all manner of evidence and lead to many convictions.
I know that the detractors will say we don’t have space for 50,000 people in prison but to stop murderous attacks I think it is worth creating the space. Also, even if we convict them and let them out on the streets on license at least they will have been exposed and could be subject to parole conditions curbing their activity.
Like sex offenders’ register Britain has a terror register composed of those convicted of terror related charges, but the remit of this should be expanded to include those suspected of participating in terror related activity.
This will make suspected terrorists easier to monitor and will reduce the likelihood of successful attacks.
Inclusion on the list will require those individuals to inform police of foreign travel plans and more basic details, such as a change in home address. Depending on the nature of their suspected terror activities, they will also be required to maintain contact with the police.
The Police have already admitted they cannot watch all 23,000 people they believe are potential terrorists in the UK. In the past, they would try to work out which of these were dreamers, incapable of committing a terror attack, and which were able to do it.
That process is now a waste of time, anyone can find a knife and attack people at a shopping mall. So, by extension, all 23,000 on the terror list now pass into the category of those who are both willing and able to strike.
The British security services are the best in the world, but until we hunt down the online offenders we can never be truly safe.
That was the point Trump was making and, for once, I hope everyone can agree he was right!