Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Dec 06, 2023

Sunak’s anti-terrorism proposals criticised by former counter terrorism chief

Sunak’s anti-terrorism proposals criticised by former counter terrorism chief

Peter Fahey critical of proposal to widen definition of ‘extremism’ and include people who ‘vilfy’ Britain

Rishi Sunak’s proposals to strengthen the government’s anti-terrorism programme risk “straying into thought crimes” and are potentially damaging to national security, a former senior police chief has said.

The former chancellor announced measures to beef up the Prevent programme on Tuesday night, as part of a bid to boost his flagging campaign to succeed Boris Johnson as the next prime minister.

These would lead to more people being referred to Prevent by widening the definition of “extremism” to include those who “vilify” Britain, with Sunak pledging to focus on “rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”.

But former counter-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy, who was also chief constable of Greater Manchester police, questioned the precise meaning of “vilification”.

He said: “The widening of Prevent could damage its credibility and reputation. It makes it more about people’s thoughts and opinions.

“It is straying into thought crimes and political opinions.”

He added: “Political opposition is not where police should be, it is those who pose a serious threat and risk of violence, not those opposed to political systems.”

Sunak said on Tuesday night that “Britain is a beacon of freedom, tolerance and diversity,” warning against ever “letting those who seek to undermine and destroy our way of life to succeed”.

He said he would refocus the Prevent programme to tackle Islamist extremism, what he called the UK’s “most significant terror threat”.

He also promised to “weed out and cut off organisations that are promoting extremism in the UK”, and added: “There is no more important duty for a prime minister than keeping our country and our people safe.”

Extremism is defined in the 2011 Prevent strategy as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”, as well as calls for the death of armed forces personnel.

Sunak’s team vowed to broaden that out to include “vilification of the UK” to ensure “those with an extreme hatred of our country that leads them to pose a risk to national security can be identified and diverted away from a destructive path”.

They stressed it was not a legally binding definition and simply criticising the government or any of its policies would not count as vilification but instead “help guide the public sector in its work to keep the UK safe”.

Prevent previously ran into controversy over whether it should cover those criticising UK foreign policy, and British conduct in the 2003 Iraq war. In recent years the police side of Prevent has tried to focus much more on those at risk of falling into terrorist violence.

Those in the public sector are under a duty to report concerns to Prevent, which has previously caused consternation. Their information is the lifeblood of the counter radicalisation scheme, which has been dogged by claims it has strayed in suppressing freedom of thought and speech.

Fahy said: “The danger is the perception it creates that teachers and health workers are involved in state surveillance.”

“What does vilification mean? Vilification would have to be carefully defined.”

Former counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu said that Prevent was the most important strand of the UK’s battle about violent extremism. A review of the programme ordered by the government has been delivered to officials but there is no public timetable for its publication.

Sunak’s pledges to improve security include blocking terrorists from trying to “abuse our human rights framework” by classifying them differently from the general prison population via a new bill of rights; auditing publicly-funded third-party organisations to ensure no extremist groups gets taxpayer cash; and funnelling off those referred to Prevent who are more in need of mental health support.

“Whether redoubling our efforts to tackle Islamist extremism or rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country, I will do whatever it takes to fulfil that duty,” he said.


Related Articles

Saudi Press
Henry Kissinger, the influential American diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and former Secretary of State, passed away at 100 at his Connecticut home.
Here is a video showing the moment of the release of the captives by the terrorist organization Hamas and their transfer to the Red Cross on their way back to the State of Israel.
Here is a video showing the moment of the release of the captives by the terrorist organization Hamas and their transfer to the Red Cross on their way back to the State of Israel.
Bill Gates Envisions a Possible 3-Day Work Week with AI
Abu Dhabi-Backed Fund Poised to Assume Control of UK's Telegraph Media Group
Biden Advocates for Palestinian Authority to Govern Gaza and West Bank
Apple and Disney Halt Ads on X Following Elon Musk's Antisemitic Post, US Reacts
The UK’s Supreme Court, in a move that surprised no one who respects international law and human rights, has just delivered a landmark ruling against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s immigration strategy.
Top German journalist received €600,000 from Putin ally, leak reveals
A Dramatic Video from Gaza, Provided by IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Offers Undeniable Evidence of Hamas Establishing Terror Operation Bases Near Schools, Above Hospitals, and Inside Civilian Areas.
Moody's Downgrades U.S. Credit Outlook to Negative Amid Fiscal Concerns
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Today, we're unveiling the splendor of one of Saudi Arabia's most exclusive and stunning retreats – the Jeddah Yacht Club
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali