Reading Terrorist Attack - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:03 pm on 23rd June 2020.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 1:03 pm, 23rd June 2020

My Lords, I share the concerns of my noble friends Lord Rosser and Lady Ramsay that the ISC has not met recently. It is too important to be messed up by internal party-political shenanigans. Having been deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee for some three years, I have no doubt about the competence and dedication of the men and women in the agencies. They are in danger of being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of potential threat suspects, whether additions from abroad or whatever. Is there not a need to further enable technology to assist us? This could include the greater use of CCTV and other electronic items, enabled by 5G; the use of artificial intelligence; utilising big data, and so on. Clearly, there are risks and we must not become a surveillance society. The Investigative Powers Act may need amending. Are these avenues being reviewed with some urgency, bearing in mind the numbers involved?