JTAC raised the threat level on 29 August from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE. The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups, including ISIL, are planning attacks against the West. ISIL
is a clear national threat to the UK, as it is a global threat to our international partners and the region. We believe that more than 500 individuals from the UK have travelled to Syria since the start of the conflict. It is estimated half of these have returned. We judge that a significant minority of UK extremists currently fighting in Syria are affiliated with ISIL. British citizens fighting with proscribed terrorist organisations would clearly pose a threat to the UK should they return. Such
individuals are among our primary counter-terrorism concerns.
The Government is taking steps to counter this unprecedented threat. On Wednesday 26 November, we introduced the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, in order to extend the powers available to our law enforcement and intelligence
agencies. This Bill will ensure that we can: disrupt the ability of people to travel abroad to fight, as well as their ability to return here; enhance our ability to monitor and control the actions of those in the UK that pose a threat; and combat the underlying ideology that feeds, supports and sanctions terrorism. It includes provisions to:
The powers set out in the Bill are essential to keep up with the very serious and rapidly changing threats we face.
This legislation will provide additional tools to compliment work already underway to tackle the threat from ISIL under a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism led strategy.
We must take action at home – but we must also have a comprehensive strategy to defeat these extremists abroad. This involves using all the resources at our disposal – humanitarian efforts, which Britain is already leading, to help
those displaced by ISIL’s onslaught, and diplomatic efforts to engage the widest possible coalition of countries in the region as part of this international effort. At the UN, we are leading the process of condemning
ISIL, disrupting the flows of finance to ISIL and forging a global consensus about preventing the movement of foreign fighters.
This strategy also involves political efforts to support the creation of a new and genuinely inclusive government in Iraq and to bring about a transition of power in Syria that can lead to a new representative and accountable government
that can take the fight to ISIL.
We are determined to defeat the ideology of all forms of extremism, not just violent extremism. So we are banning preachers of hate, proscribing organisations that incite terrorism and stopping people from inciting hatred in
our schools, universities and even our prisons. For those individuals who are at risk of radicalisation, agencies such as the police and local authorities work together to assess the nature and the extent of the risk and, where
necessary, provide an appropriate support package tailored to individual needs. And we are working with industry to remove more extremist online material than ever before to protect those British young people vulnerable to becoming
radicalised. Since the start of this government, the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has secured the removal of 65,000 items from the internet that encouraged or glorified acts of terrorism. More than 46,000 of these have been
removed since December last year. At present, content relating to ISIL, Syria and Iraq represents around seventy per cent of the Unit’s caseload.