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‘Threat level from international terrorism raised’: Statement by Prime Minister David Cameron

On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to the national media about the international terrorism threat level in the United Kingdom being increased from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has increased the threat level in the United Kingdom from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’. This is the first time in three years that the threat to our country has been at this level.

My first priority as Prime Minister is to make sure we do everything possible to keep our people safe. Today, I want to set out the scale and nature of the threat we face and the comprehensive approach that we are taking to combat it.

We’ve all been shocked and sickened by the barbaric murder of American journalist James Foley and by the voice of what increasingly seems to have been a British terrorist recorded on that video. It was clear evidence – not that any more was needed – that this is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore.

The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the UK. That’s in addition to the many other al-Qaeda inspired terrorist groups existing in that region.

The first ISIL-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place. We now believe that at least 500 people have travelled from Britain to fight in Syria and, potentially, Iraq.

Poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism

Let’s be clear about the source of the threat that we face. The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war ten years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks of 9/11, themselves some time before the Iraq war. This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy. Nor can it be dealt with by addressing poverty, dictatorship or instability in the region, as important as these things are.

The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear. It’s a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders. It believes in using the most brutal forms of terrorism to force people to accept a warped world view and to live in an almost medieval state. A state in which its own citizens would suffer unimaginable brutality, including barbaric beheadings of those who refuse to convert to their warped version of Islam, the enslavement and raping of women and the widespread slaughter of Muslims by fellow Muslims. As well, of course, as the exporting of terrorism abroad.

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

This is about a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other. It’s absolutely vital that we make this distinction between religion and political ideology. Islam is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over one billion people. It’s a source of spiritual guidance which daily inspires millions to countless acts of kindness. Islamist extremism is a poisonous political ideology supported by a minority. These extremists, often funded by fanatics living comfortably far away from the battlefields, pervert the Islamic faith as a way of justifying their warped and barbaric ideology.

Now this is not a new problem. We have seen this extremism before here in our own country. We saw it with the sickening murder of Lee Rigby and with the home grown 7/7 bombers who blew up tube trains and buses. The links between what happens overseas and what happens here have also always been there. Many of those who sought to do us harm in the past have been foreign nationals living in Britain or even British citizens who have returned from terrorist training camps in Pakistan or elsewhere around the world.

What we’re now facing in Iraq with ISIL is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were prepared to play host to al-Qaeda, a terrorist organisation. With ISIL, we are facing a terrorist organisation not being hosted in a country but actually seeking to establish and then violently expand its own terrorist state. With their designs on expanding into Jordan and Lebanon and right up to the Turkish border, we could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member.

We cannot appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad. To do this we need a tough, intelligent, patient and comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source. Tough in that we need a firm security response whether that is action to go after the terrorists, international co-operation on intelligence and counter-terrorism or uncompromising measures against terrorists here at home.

Requirement for an intelligent political response

It also must be an intelligent political response. We must use all resources we have at our disposal – aid, diplomacy, political influence and our military. Learning the lessons of the past doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for our military. The military were vital in driving al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, and we support the US air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. The key point is that military force is just one element of what we can do. We need a much wider approach, working with neighbours in the region and addressing not just security but also politics.

We know that terrorist organisations thrive where there is political instability and weak or dysfunctional political institutions. We must support the building blocks of democracy, the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the rights of minorities, free media, free association, a proper place in society for the army and show perseverance. Not just because these building blocks take time to put in place, but because we are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology that I believe we’ll be fighting for years and probably decades.

We will always take whatever action is necessary to keep the British people safe here at home. Britain has some of the finest and most effective security and intelligence services anywhere in the world. We will always act with urgency where needed, as we did with the emergency data retention legislation which is already yielding results.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

We’ve already taken a whole range of measures to keep our people safe. We are stopping suspects from travelling by seizing passports. We’re barring foreign nationals from re-entering the UK. We’re depriving people of citizenship and we are legislating so that we can prosecute people for all terrorist activity, even where that activity takes place overseas.

We’ve also stepped up our operational response. Since last year, we’ve seen a fivefold increase in Syria-related arrests. We’ve seen port stops and cash seizures grow by over 50%. We’ve taken down 28,000 pieces of extremist material from the Internet this year alone, including 46 ISIL-related videos. We made clear that those who carry ISIL flags or seek to recruit to ISIL will be arrested and the material seized. We’ve also seen a 58% increase in referrals to our de-radicalisation programme called the ‘Channel Project’.

Listening to the Security Services

People are rightly concerned about so-called ‘foreign fighters’ who travel from Britain to Syria and Iraq, take part in terrorist acts and then come back to threaten our security here at home. The scale of this threat is growing but there will be no knee jerk reactions. We will respond calmly and with purpose. We’ll do so driven by the evidence and the importance of maintaining the liberty that is the hallmark of the society we defend, but we have to listen carefully to the security and intelligence officers who do so much every day to keep us safe.

I recently chaired a meeting with our intelligence and security services and we agreed that the answer to this threat was not to dream up some sweeping new power that would be ineffective in practice. However, it’s becoming clear that there are some gaps in our armoury, and we need to strengthen them. We need to do more to stop people travelling, to stop those who do go from returning and to deal decisively with those who are already here. I’ll be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday 1 September. This will include further steps to stop people travelling with new legislation that will make it easier to take people’s passports away.

As well as being tough, patient and intelligent, we also need to take a comprehensive approach. Dealing with this threat is not just about new powers. It’s about how we combat extremism in all its forms. We need to tackle that ideology of Islamist extremism head on at root before it takes the form of violence and terror. That means challenging the thinking of extremist ideologues, identifying the groups in this country that push an extremist agenda and countering them by empowering the overwhelming majority who believe in the British values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for minorities.

Beating the scourge of extremism

That is why, as Prime Minister, I have driven a new approach to tackling radicalisation and counter-extremism in Britain, focusing on all types of extremism and not just violent extremism. I set this out in my Munich speech in 2011 and I’ve driven this forward through my extremism task force. This has included stopping the funding of organisations that promote extremism, banning hate preachers and ensuring that every part of Government and the state from schools and universities through to prisons is focused on beating the scourge of extremism. This task force will continue to meet on a regular basis.

Britain is an open, tolerant and free nation. We are a country that backs people in every community who want to work hard, make a contribution and build a life for themselves and their families. We cannot stand by and allow our openness to be confused with a tolerance of extremism, or one that encourages different cultures to live separate lives and allows people to behave in ways that run completely counter to our values.

Adhering to British values is not an option or a choice. It is a duty for those who live in these islands. In the end, it is only by standing up for these values that we will defeat the extremists, protect our way of life and keep all of our people safe.

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UK terror threat level raised from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK’s threat level in relation to the prospect of international terrorism impacting home shores, with Home Secretary Theresa May announcing today that the threat level has moved from substantial to severe.

A ‘Severe’ rating means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, although at the present moment there’s no intelligence available to suggest that any form of attack is imminent.

The official threat level informs security professionals across the public and private sectors as they make decisions about the appropriate level of protection in place across the UK.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre’s judgements are made on the basis of the latest intelligence and represent decisions taken independently of Government ministers.

There are five levels of threat, as follows:

*Critical: an attack is expected imminently
*Severe: an attack is highly likely
*Substantial: an attack is a strong possibility
*Moderate: an attack is possible but not likely
*Low: an attack is unlikely

Developments in Syria and Iraq

Announcing the change, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Some of these plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts.”

May continued: “The first and most important duty of Government is the protection of the British people. We have already taken steps to amend our powers and increase our capabilities for dealing with the developing terrorist threats which we face. That process will continue, and the British public should be in no doubt that we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.”

In conclusion, the Home Secretary stated: “We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international terrorism. I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police service.”

Watch a video of Theresa May’s announcement on BBC News

Statement issued by ACPO

ACPO’s National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said: “The threat level from international terrorism has changed from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’ in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq. This means it’s highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK. We therefore continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police service. We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”

Rowley continued: “Public safety is our priority, and we have a variety of established operational tactics that are regularly used to ensure that the UK is both well prepared and protected. Over the years, we have built capabilities and enhanced our security arrangements against a consistently high level of threat. Much of this is already in place. Our aim is to reduce the risk to the public, and we keep our security arrangements under constant review in line with the threat we face.”

In addition, Rowley commented: “We have activated the established planning mechanisms across the police service, co-ordinated by myself as National Policing Lead on Counter-Terrorism. This will lead to enhanced prevention and preparedness.”

To conclude, Rowley went on to state: “From this afternoon, we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures. We will also build on existing community relations to provide reassurance and seek communities’ support and assistance in keeping the UK safe.”

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the media

Watch a Daily Telegraph video of Prime Minister David Cameron offering his views at a 10 Downing Street Press Conference

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Liberty represents MPs David Davis and Tom Watson in legal challenge to Government’s “emergency” surveillance law

At 11.00 am this morning, Liberty announced that it will seek a Judicial Review of the Government’s ’emergency’ surveillance law on behalf of MPs David Davis and Tom Watson. The announcement comes days after the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIP) was – according to Liberty – “rushed through Parliament” onto the statute book.

Liberty is arguing on Davis and Watson’s behalf that the new legislation is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the right to respect for private and family life, and Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights relating to respect for private and family life and the protection of personal data.

Since 2009, communications data has been retained by public communications services and network providers under a 2009 EU Data Retention Directive. However, back in April the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the Directive was invalid because it was so sweeping in its interference with individual privacy rights. The judgement made clear that existing UK legislation, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), required urgent review.

On 10 July 2014, the DRIP Bill was introduced by ministers claiming that “emergency” legislation was necessary. The Bill was privately agreed following discussions between the three main party leaders. It became law within just three days – a timescale which Liberty feels has rendered proper parliamentary scrutiny, amendment and even debate impossible.

James Welch: Liberty's legal director

James Welch: Liberty’s legal director

James Welch, legal director for Liberty, said: “It’s as ridiculous as it is offensive to introduce an “emergency” law in response to an essay crisis. The court ruling that blanket data retention breached the privacy of every man, woman and child in the UK was more than three months ago. The Government has shown contempt for both the rule of law and Parliamentary Sovereignty. This private cross-party stitch-up, rail-roaded onto the statute book inside three days, is ripe for challenge in the Courts.”

David Davis, Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, added: “This Act of Parliament was driven through the House of Commons with ridiculous and unnecessary haste to meet a completely artificial emergency. As a result, Members of Parliament had no opportunity to either research it, consider it or debate it properly. The aim of this legal action is to make the Government give the House the opportunity to do what it should have been allowed to do in the first place – in other words proper, considered and effective law-making. The overall aim is to create law which both protects the security of our citizens without unnecessarily invading their privacy.”

David Davis MP

David Davis MP

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, added: “The three party leaders struck a private deal to rail-road through a controversial Bill in a week. You cannot make good laws behind closed doors. The new Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act does not answer the concerns of many that the blanket retention of personal data is a breach of fundamental rights to privacy.”

Tom Watson MP

Tom Watson MP

The Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the ECHR into UK law. Section 3 requires that, so far as it is possible to do so, primary and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.

Section 4 stipulates that in any proceedings in which a court determines whether a provision or primary legislation is compatible with a Convention right, the court may – if it’s satisfied that the provision is incompatible – make a declaration of that incompatibility.

Liberty’s clients (ie David Davis MP and Tom Watson MP) claim that Section 1 of the DRIP 2014 is incompatible with the Human Rights Act and, in particular, Article 8 of the ECHR, together with Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter.

The powers within Section 1 of DRIP are extraordinarily wide. In its letter before claim to the Home Secretary, Liberty argues that such powers are incompatible with Article 8 of the ECHR and/or Articles 7 and/or 8 of the EU Charter for a number of reasons, including the following:

*Communications data can provide a very intimate picture of a person’s life – who they communicated with, by what means, the time and length of the communication, where the communication took place and the frequency of the communications. As the CJEU ruling said: “Those data, taken as a whole, may allow very precise conclusions to be drawn concerning the private lives of the persons whose data has been retained, such as the habits of everyday life, permanent or temporary places of residence, daily or other movements, the activities carried out, the social relationships of those persons and the social environments frequented by them”

*Communications data retained under DRIP is subject to an extremely lax access regime – still governed by the RIPA (Communications Data) Order 2010 – allowing such data to be acquired by hundreds of public authorities

*The Act allows the Home Secretary to command, by order, the blanket retention of all communications data for 12 months – no link with the prevention or detection of serious crime is required

Via its letter before claim, Liberty has invited the Home Secretary Theresa May to concede that the Act is indeed incompatible and to publish and present a replacement Bill, in turn allowing Parliament to fulfil its proper constitutional function.

Alternatively, the Home Secretary is invited to concede that Peter Davis MP and Tom Watson MP’s claim is arguable and that a substantive hearing ought to follow.

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Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill receives Royal Assent

Legislation to ensure UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to have access to the vital evidence and information they need in order to investigate criminal activity, prevent terrorism and protect the public has received Royal Assent.

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act addresses urgent issues around the retention of communications data by companies as well as the interception of communications.

The legislation was brought forward after the European Court of Justice struck down the European directive that formed the basis of UK regulations governing the ability of the police service and others to access communications data retained by communication service providers.

The Act provides a clear basis in UK law for the retention of communications data and ensures this crucial information continues to be available when it’s needed.

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

The Act is also a response to uncertainty from overseas communications service providers around the legal framework that underpins their co-operation with intelligence and law enforcement agencies regarding investigatory powers. The Act makes clear the obligations that apply to anyone providing communications services to customers in the UK under Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), irrespective of where those companies are based.

The Act, which comes into effect immediately, only maintains and clarifies the existing regime and does not create any new powers, rights of access or obligations on companies beyond those that already exist.

It also strengthens existing safeguards and includes a two-year ‘sunset clause’ to ensure the legal framework is kept under review into the next Parliament.

In parallel, the Government has announced new measures to increase transparency and oversight.

Necessary powers and capabilities

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The threats faced by the UK from terrorism and organised crime remain considerable, and the Government would have been negligent if it had not made sure the people and the organisations that keep us safe have the powers and capabilities they need.”

May added: “If we had not acted immediately, investigations could have suddenly gone dark overnight. Criminals and terrorists would have been able to go about their work unimpeded, and innocent lives would have been lost.”

Continuing the theme, the Home Secretary said: “The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act will ensure the job of those who protect us does not become even more difficult and that they can maintain the use of vital powers to solve crime, save lives and protect the public from harm.”

May concluded: “This Act has cross-party support and I would like to express my gratitude to all those who recognised both the need for this legislation and the reason why it was so important to see it enacted quickly.”

Bringing offenders to justice

Communications data is the ‘who, when, where and how’ of a communication, such as a telephone call or an e-mail, but not its content.

It’s often the decisive factor in successful prosecutions and has helped police solve a large number of serious crimes, including the Oxford and Rochdale child grooming cases as well as the Soham and Rhys Jones murders.

As a result of the ECJ ruling, communications service providers may have started to delete data they are currently required to retain. This would have had potentially devastating consequences for investigations, which often rely on communications data that’s several months old at the point at which it’s requested.

The Act provides a clear basis in domestic law for the retention of communications data in the UK.

Protecting national security

Interception powers, which are subject to very strict controls and oversight, are used alongside other covert capabilities and techniques to identify, understand and disrupt serious criminals and terrorists before they can cause damage or endanger lives.

The Act has made explicit what is already implicit in RIPA that the provisions in RIPA which relate to communications data and interception apply to overseas communications companies offering services to UK customers.

Any loss of co-operation from the companies would have immediately resulted in a major loss of the powers and capabilities that are used every day to counter the threats we face from terrorists and organised criminals.

Introducing new safeguards

The UK has one of the best communications data oversight and authorisation systems in the world. Nonetheless, the following steps will be taken to strengthen oversight and transparency:

(1) The Independent Reviewer of Counter-Terrorism Legislation will hold a full review of powers and capabilities.
(2) The Interception of Communications Commissioner will report every six months on the operation of the legislation.
(3) A senior diplomat will be appointed to lead discussions with overseas Governments and communication service providers to assess and develop formal arrangements for the accessing of data for law enforcement and intelligence purposes held in different jurisdictions.
(4) An Independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Board will be created to consider the balance between the threat and civil liberties concerns in the UK where they are affected by policies, procedures and legislation relating to the prevention of terrorism.
(5) The number of public bodies currently able to request communications data will be reduced.
(6) The UK Government will publish annual transparency reports to make more information publicly available than ever before on the ways in which surveillance powers are operated.

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Home Secretary Theresa May: ‘UK needs capability to defend its citizens’

The world is a dangerous place and the UK must maintain its capability to defend its citizens in the digital age, Home Secretary Theresa May has stated.

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s Defence and Security Lecture in London, the Home Secretary talked of the threat the country faces, including that from British people returning home from the conflict in Syria.

The Home Secretary said that threat – whether from terrorism or organised crime – is changing fast and, on that basis, the UK needs the capabilities to defend its interests and protect its citizens.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Theresa May stressed it was important to talk about the balance between privacy and security “in the full context of the threats we face” rather than “in a strange vacuum, as if the debate was entirely academic”.

The Home Secretary stated: “The terrorist threats to this country and our interests are changing faster than at any time since 9/11. We continue to face possible attacks by Al Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but we face further threats from Syria and now from Iraq where Al Qaida, ISIL and others have created a safe haven with substantial resources including advanced technology and weapons.”

May continued: “They are on the doorstep of Europe, just a few hours’ flying time from London, and they want to attack us – not just in Syria or Iraq but here in Britain.”

Challenges to be faced

The Home Secretary told the guests at Mansion House that it’s important to be clear about the UK’s capabilities and the challenges faced in maintaining them in a digital age.

“We are living more of our lives online, using an array of new technology,” said May. “This is hugely liberating and a great opportunity for economic growth. However, this technology has become essential not just to the likes of you and me but also to organised criminals and terrorists.”

The Home Secretary added: “Far from having some fictitious mastery over all this technology we, in democratic states, face the significant risk of being caught out by it. Governments have always reserved the power to monitor communications and to collect data about communications when it’s necessary and proportionate to do so. It is much harder now – there is more data, we do not own it and we can no longer always obtain it. I know some people will say ‘hurrah for that’ – but the result is that we are in danger of making the Internet an ungoverned, ungovernable space and a safe haven for terrorism and criminality.”

Loss of capability: the great danger

The Home Secretary described loss of capability as “the great danger we face”. May said: “The real problem is not that we have built an over-mighty state but that the state is finding it harder to fulfil its most basic duty which is to protect the public. That is why I have said before – and I will go on saying – that we need to make changes to the law to maintain the capabilities we require.”

In conclusion, Theresa May explained: “Yes, we have to make sure that the capabilities can only be used with the right authorisation and with appropriate oversight, but this is quite simply a question of life and death. A matter of national security. We must keep on making the case until we get the changes we need.”

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Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation reappointed by Home Secretary

Home Secretary Theresa May has reappointed David Anderson QC as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Anderson – whose role is to review the operation of the UK’s counter-terrorism legislation – was first appointed in 2011 and will remain in the post until 21 February 2017.

As part of this role, Anderson will continue to report his findings to Parliament on an annual basis.

Home Secretary Theresa May explained: “I’m pleased to announce that David Anderson QC has been reappointed as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for a further three years. I am confident he will continue to help this Government meet its ongoing commitment to ensure that its counter-terrorism legislation is fair, effective and proportionate.”

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has statutory responsibilities under Section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006 to review the operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, scrutinise the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) Act 2011 (under Section 20 of that Act) and the Terrorist Asset-Freezing, etc Act (TAFA) 2010 (as set out in Section 31 of that Act).

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Scotland and the UK “safer together” states Home Secretary

Threats to Scotland and the UK from organised crime gangs, cyber criminals and global terrorism are best confronted with Scotland inside the UK, the Home Secretary explained today.

The Home Secretary was in Scotland to launch ‘Scotland Analysis: Security’, the seventh in a series of UK Government papers to inform the debate ahead of next year’s independence referendum.

The paper examines how the UK and Scotland derive mutual benefit from an integrated approach to security, cyber, justice and policing, as well as from security exports and our international alliances and relationships.

The possible consequences for both Scotland and the continuing UK of a vote for independence are subject to analysis in the paper. It stresses that while the UK does work with other countries (such as the Republic of Ireland) to improve security and fight organised crime, there’s a significant difference between these relationships and Scotland’s current position as a privileged and influential part of the UK.

The analysis concludes that independence could disturb the united protection provided to Scotland by the UK’s security and intelligence architecture.

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

Scottish referendum: key implications of Scottish independence

Key implications of Scottish independence include:

• Scotland facing a technically complex and expensive requirement to establish its security infrastructure. In the meantime, there would be a risk to both Scotland and the continuing UK of diminished security.

• Scotland no longer being covered by the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme which strengthens the services the public rely on and makes the UK a safer place for businesses to operate.

• Co-operation between Police Scotland and other UK forces may not be as straightforward as it is now. Long established UK-wide laws make it easier to pursue justice across borders despite different legal systems and police jurisdictions.

• A limit to the amount of information the continuing UK would be able to share with Scotland. Under the ‘Control Principle’ the UK could not share the kind of information used to fight and counter terrorism with Scotland, passed to it by another country, unless the UK had that country’s consent.

Security consequences of Scottish independence

“This report sets out in plain terms the security consequences of independence, not just for Scotland but for the UK as a whole,” said Home Secretary Theresa May. “Undoubtedly, we are stronger and safer together.”

May continued: “The national security risks the UK faces are complex and changing. Terrorists and organised criminals will seek new ways to exploit any weakness in our justice and policing capabilities, and the scale of emerging threats, such as cyber crime, demands a comprehensively resourced response.”

On that basis, the Home Secretary explained: “Now is the time to work more closely together for the security of all citizens of the UK.”

The UK Government believes that Scotland is better off as part of the UK, and that the UK is stronger, safer and more secure with Scotland as part of it.

In the event of a vote in favour of leaving the UK, Scotland would become an entirely new state and would have to establish its own security arrangements.

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