Only two percent of all suspected terrorists reported to security services in the past year are still monitored by the government's controversial anti-radicalization program, Prevent.
The security services were handed a list of 6,287 terror suspects in 2019 – but only 147 are still part of Prevent.
Of the 6,287 people – including radical Islamists and right-wing extremists – 697 received help through the program at the time, according to data from the Interior Ministry.
Prevent aims to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In its structure, around 50 councils are classified as “high priority areas”.
Prevent was in charge of monitoring terrorist Usman Khan, 28, before killing Cambridge University alumni Saskia Jones, 23 and Jack Merritt, 25, during a prisoner rehabilitation event near London Bridge on November 29th last year .
Only two percent of all suspected terrorists who were reported to security services in the past year are still monitored by the government's controversial anti-radicalization program Prevent (file picture).
Khan, armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was attacked by members of the public with a narwhal tusk, a pike and a fire extinguisher before he was shot by police.
Prevent was in charge of monitoring terrorist Usman Khan, 28 (pictured), before hitting Cambridge University graduates Saskia Jones, 23 and Jack Merritt, 25, during a prisoner rehabilitation session near London Bridge on Killed November 29th last year
Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter-Terrorism Security Bureau, told The Sun, “Covid lockdowns have made the work of police and security services much more difficult. Try to follow a suspect on empty streets.
& # 39; In addition, many will use the internet to radicalize others.
"We are facing a difficult time with a high likelihood of further attacks."
In November Home Secretary Priti Patel upgraded the UK terrorism threat to "serious" – meaning an attack is now considered "very likely".
The change – which is still in force – came after a shooter killed four people overnight in a rampage in Vienna and after a Tunisian-born knife man stabbed two women and a man in Notre-Dame de Nice Cathedral in France.
"This is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat," Patel said on Twitter at the time.
"The British public should have no doubt that we will take the best possible measures to protect our national security."
She did not mention the Viennese or French attacks in her statement.
A rifleman armed with rifles opened fire in six different locations in Vienna, killing four people and wounding up to 22. In the picture, the man who is believed to be behind the attack
The new threat level means that an attack according to the government's classification system is very likely. The previous "significant" level meant an attack was likely.
The UK's threat level is assessed by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, accountable to the domestic intelligence agency MI5 and made up of representatives from 16 government departments and agencies.
Interior Ministry sources told the Telegraph the public should be "vigilant but not alarmed" by the threat level increase, which was last severe a year ago.
Security analyst Will Geddes said terrorists found it harder to traverse the deserted streets of many European cities during the first wave of the pandemic.
However, with the easing of lockdowns across the continent, potential attacks have become more likely.
A police car blocks a thoroughfare in Vienna after a shooter raged through the city
Mr Geddes, executive director of the ICP Group, which advises on security threats worldwide, said the recent murders in Europe could have been planned before the lockdowns were re-imposed and while there were still many unsuspecting victims outside.
He said, “One of the biggest problems we need to remember is that terrorism is not very successful when there are empty streets where there are fewer potential victims and where it is easier for security services to identify them.
“Terrorists like to target densely populated areas, of which there are fewer, when people are not on the street as often.
“When a country has put a lockdown, it is far less attractive for terrorists to launch attacks, as it does not achieve the desired losses and deaths – as in Vienna and Nice.
"Nothing can be discounted right now. The hardest part of fighting terrorism is figuring out what opportunities these groups will take advantage of."
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