The Henry Jackson Society today said that tracking the movements of foreign fighters returning to Europe, as well as the trafficking of weaponry and fake documents, must be an urgent priority for law enforcement.
The Society was responding to comments made by the former head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, Richard Walton, who said that the threat to Britain from returning Islamic State fighters “is being underestimated”.
Nikita Malik, Director of the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, said:
“Richard Walton is right to highlight the threat of foreign fighters coming into the UK and the threat that they pose.
“Henry Jackson Society research has shown that returning jihadists lose documentation, or use fake documents that can be obtained by criminal groups or through forums on the Darknet.
“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it will be increasingly important to focus attention on our borders – not only to catch dangerous individuals, but also to shut down smuggling routes and criminal cells that work across borders to traffic weapons and poisons – such as ricin – which then can be used by terrorists.
“Individuals returning from fighting with Islamic State to Britain must be identified, monitored and de-radicalised to reduce the security threat they pose to the United Kingdom.”