Terrorists operating ‘under the radar’, warns Braverman

Priti Patel addresses threat of terrorism to UK after Vienna attack

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Britain has a “blind spot in the system” which enables religious extremist organisations to flourish, Suella Braverman has claimed. Speaking on Wednesday at a conference organised by Robin Simcox, the commissioner for countering extremism, the Home Secretary laid the blame at the door of “political correctness” – and suggested a radical overhaul was required.

Ms Braverman said: “We have a blind spot in the system. It has allowed certain Islamist groups to operate under our radar.

“There can be no place for political correctness in our national security. In fact, I’d like to banish it altogether.”

She used her speech to announce a scheme aimed at combating misinformation on the Government’s anti-terror Prevent programme, along with the creation of an independent standards unit to help communities report concerns about prevention efforts.

Ms Braverman also voiced her concerns about what she called “non-violent extremism”.

She said: “Extremism is not only dangerous because it can lead to violence.

“It is dangerous in its own right. And unless we deal with it comprehensively, we should not be surprised when it continues to endure and grow – with disastrous consequences.”

After her speech Ms Braverman posted on Twitter: “Tackling extremism in (the UK) is a vital part of protecting our security.

“I was pleased to speak at a CommissionCE Countering Extremism conference today & wish to thank RobinSimcox for his committed work.

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“I look forward to further work on this crucial cause to safeguard our country.”

Her remarks follow a long-awaited review into Prevent, published last month, which recommended changes to the Government’s anti-terror scheme.

The report was spear-headed by ex-Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross after it was commissioned by former home secretary Priti Patel in 2019.

It warned Prevent was “out of kilter with the rest of the counter-terrorism system, and the UK terrorism threat picture” and “must return to its overarching objective: to stop individuals from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.

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Terrorism was wrongly treated as a mental illness and there was a “failure” by those working on Prevent to properly understand the nature of ideology in Islamist radicalisation which risks “several potentially serious consequences”, Mr Shawcross said.

Speaking to MPs earlier this month after the publication of the review, Ms Braverman said: “Prevent needs major reform.

“Prevent needs to better understand the threats we face and the ideology underpinning them.

“I will swiftly implement all of the review’s recommendations and will report on my progress a year from now.

“Prevent’s focus must solely be on security, not political correctness.”

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