This year has seen some of the worst terror attacks our country has faced in decades – in Westminster, the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park. These acts of terrorism seek to spread fear, intolerance and hate – we cannot allow them to succeed.
Countering this threat has always been a crucial part of the work of the Government. A number of measures have already been put in place to help tackle the threat of terrorism, including measures to disrupt the travel of foreign fighters, extra powers for the police and intelligence services, so that they can keep us safe, and an increase in overall counter-terrorism funding.
The Government has introduced measures to disrupt the travel of foreign fighters and those who would seek to do us harm. This includes refusing people entry into the UK who are not conducive to the public good, and removing the passports of those who carry a British passport but represent a threat to our country.
Counter-terrorism funding has been increased by 30 percent over recent years, supporting our police and security services to protect our country. This includes funds to recruit and train an extra 1,900 intelligence staff, including many at GCHQ in Cheltenham, to better respond to the threats we face from international terrorism, cyber-attacks and other global risks.
The Government has also extended the powers of the police, security and intelligence services through the Investigatory Powers Act, giving them the tools they need while also ensuring that the system remains proportional, with the right checks in place.
However, we must do more to defeat ideologies of hatred by turning people’s minds away from violence and towards our values – of inclusion, equality and democracy.
To support this work, the Government is setting up a Commission for Countering Extremism, to tackle extremists who seek to radicalise young people in Britain today, and is also reviewing Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure that the police and the security services have what they need to keep us safe.
What terrorists want is for us to fear and turn in on one another, but we will never give terrorists what they want. We will stand together and we will ensure that our values, our country and our unity will prevail.