MI5 and police in joint review of operational procedures for counter-terrorism investigations

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that David Anderson QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, will provide independent assurance of the reviews that MI5 and the National Counter-Terrorism Policing headquarters are conducting following the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

The MI5 and police reviews were commissioned by MI5’s director Andrew Parker and Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick following the recent attacks at London Bridge/Borough Market and the Manchester Arena and with the support of the National Police Chiefs’ Council. The reviews will examine in detail at what was known and how investigative processes and decision-making operated prior to the attacks, and whether any further improvements can be made to help prevent future acts of terrorism.

David Anderson QC

David Anderson QC

This work will consider key elements of the investigative life-cycle, including processes for assessing incoming intelligence and prioritising investigations through to managing the potential risk posed by individuals after they’re no longer subject to investigation. It forms part of MI5 and National Counter-Terrorism Policing’s shared commitment to continued improvement as the threat evolves at pace.

David Anderson QC will conclude his work by the end of October and report his conclusions to the Home Secretary, copied to the Prime Minister and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

In a joint statement, Andrew Parker and Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Since the appalling terrorist attacks in London and Manchester this year, the police and MI5 have been working relentlessly to investigate the events that led up to the attacks, pursue those involved and protect members of the public.”

The statement continues: “After a major incident, we always look at how we can further strengthen the highly effective counter-terrorism arrangements that we’ve developed in the UK over many years. We welcome the independent assurance that David Anderson will provide.”

Andrew Parker

Andrew Parker

In conclusion, the joint statement reads: “Our organisations are deeply committed to being the best we can be at keeping the country safe. Our work necessarily involves difficult prioritisation decisions and professional judgements based on partial information. Sadly, we cannot stop every plot, but together with our partners we will do everything in our power to improve our ability to identify and disrupt those seeking to do our country harm.”

The threat to the UK from terrorism is complex and ranges from lone actors carrying out simple, but deadly attacks through to networks plotting more co-ordinated activities. MI5, the police service and their law enforcement partners have together stopped 18 terrorist plots in Great Britain since mid-2013, including five since the Westminster attack in March this year.

At any one time, MI5 and the police service are conducting around 500 active international counter-terrorism investigations involving 3,000 subjects of interest. In addition to this, there are around 20,000 individuals who’ve been ‘subjects of interest’ in previous terrorism investigations.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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