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Opinion Editorial
December 10, 2017

Banning jihadists from re-entering Britain could ease terror threat, says DR ALAN MENDOZA

Henry Jackson Society

Two months ago, MI5 chief Andrew Parker warned that we are facing a “multidimensional threat” from terrorism that is rapidly evolving “at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before.”Our intelligence services currently run more than 500 operations involving around 3,000 individuals engaged in serious extremist activities. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

More than 20,000 further people have been investigated at some point. The numbers are staggering and our excellent security services are struggling to keep up.

Estimates of how resource-intensive 24-7 surveillance is vary but one recently suggested up to 20 agents are required for each suspect – that’s 20 for each of the 3,000 suspects.

There are some 4,000 MI5 agents in the UK today so the numbers don’t add up.It is little wonder, then, that the issue of British returning jihadists – UK citizens who fought for IS – has become so charged.Last week, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson mused that “a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain”.

He pledged to prevent IS fighters returning to the UK and to “destroy and eliminate” their threat.

His words may have raised eyebrows but he is right to be concerned about the prospect of these people adding to our large pool of terrorism suspects.There is some good news on this score. Mr Parker revealed that fewer than expected of the 800 or so Britons who joined IS had returned recently and that more than 130 had been killed.But that still leaves those who have returned already and those who might still wish to join them.Criminal prosecution for their actions is one of the preferred methods for dealing with such people.

Read more in the Sunday Express