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Plans to significantly boost counter-terrorism and aviation security
Emma Kennedy - November 16, 2015

The Government is to substantially increase its efforts to counter the terror threat from ISIL in the Government’s five year defence and security review to be unveiled next week.

New funding will be invested in the security and intelligence agencies to provide for an additional 1,900 officers – an increase of 15% – at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to respond to the increasing international terrorist threat, more cyber-attacks and other global risks.

In the wake of the increasing number of Islamist terror plots against Britain and the attacks in Belgium, France, Tunisia and elsewhere, the Prime Minister has decided to boost resources.

The Government is also planning a step change in its approach to aviation security following the Russian Metrojet disaster in Egypt a fortnight ago, which we believe was brought down by a bomb and that there is a significant possibility that ISIL were behind it.

The Prime Minister has ordered a rapid review of security at a number of airports around the world in the wake of the Sinai disaster with aviation specialists expected to conduct assessments over the next two months at locations in the Middle East and North Africa in particular.

Additional security measures were put in place by the UK and US at a number of potentially vulnerable airports over the past year, and these will now be reviewed to check whether they go far enough. And tomorrow, the National Security Council will discuss the Government’s policy on aviation security.
Ministers are expected to endorse a proposal, already backed by the Prime Minister, to more than double Government spending on aviation security over this Parliament.

The new funding would provide for:

  • Additional aviation security experts to provide regular assessments of security at airports around the world and with the capacity to ‘surge’ as necessary in response to an incident such as the Metrojet crash.
  • More advice, training and equipment for other countries to increase security at airports in vulnerable countries.
  • Increased research into screening technology and to detect new threats

Ahead of publication of the Strategic Security and Defence Review, the Prime Minister said: “Economic security goes hand-in-hand with national security. Since 2010 we have taken the tough decisions necessary to restore our economic strength and we now have one of the fastest growing developed economies.

“That means we can now invest more in our national security and I am determined to prioritise the resources we need to combat the terrorist threat because protecting the British people is my number one duty as Prime Minister.

“Our intelligence agencies work round the clock behind the scenes and as the threat has grown so they too have risen to the challenge. Much of what they do cannot be seen by us or talked about but their courageous and determined efforts allow us to go about our daily life.

“This is a generational struggle that demands we provide more manpower to combat those who would destroy us and our values.

“We will also step up our efforts on aviation security, helping countries around the world to put in place the tightest security measures possible so that we can continue to enjoy places like Egypt and Tunisia and continue with our way of life we hold so dear.”