The spies can't defeat extremist violence on their ownby Martin Innes / December 2, 2015 / Leave a comment
David Cameron’s immediate response to the Paris terrorist attacks was to announce a significant rise in staffing and funding for the intelligence services, thus improving its capacity and capability to identify and understand the spectrum of terrorist risks.
But, crucial as it is, intelligence is not evidence. Intelligence cannot be used in courts to form the basis of a criminal case—and prosecution is the most effective way of preventing the development of long-term terrorist threats. A jailed terrorist is an inactive one. Funding the police, then, is not just a law and order issue. Police work is now central to Britain’s anti-terror effort.
The scale and intensity of the terrorist threat is increasing. Seven plots have been thwarted in Britain in the past 12 months, and over 3,000 individuals require active monitoring (up from 1,600 in 2006). British police are arresting at least one person per day under counter-terrorism legislation. There has also been huge growth in the volume of electronic communications that have to be monitored for intelligence purposes. So it is perhaps not surprising that, in the case of every recent major European terrorist attack, the assailants were already known to the intelligence agencies.