The Home Secretary 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 the Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Cressida Dick following the recent attacks, with the support of the National Police Chiefs Council. They will look 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 stop future terrorism.
This work will consider key elements of the investigative lifecycle, including processes for assessing incoming intelligence and prioritising investigations through to managing the potential risk posed by individuals after they are no longer subject to investigation. It forms part of MI5 and the police'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 will report his conclusions to the Home Secretary, copied to the Prime Minister and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
In a joint statement, Mr Parker and Commissioner Dick said:
"Since the appalling terrorist attacks in Manchester and London this year, the police and MI5 have been working relentlessly to investigate the events that led up to the attacks, to pursue those involved, and to protect the public.
“After a major incident we always look at how we can further strengthen the highly effective counter terrorism arrangements that we have developed in the UK over many years. We welcome the independent assurance that David Anderson will provide.
“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, to networks plotting more coordinated activities. MI5, the police and 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 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 have been subjects of interest in previous terrorism investigations.
The letter from the Home Secretary to David Anderson QC is available here.
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