1. Since the events of 11 September 2001, UK counter-terrorism
policy has changed immeasurably. The pace of that change was increased
again following the events of 7 July 2005. In their written evidence
to this inquiry the Government informed us that there had been
six foiled terrorist plots since April 2010.
2. However, as the terrorist threat changes and evolves,
so too must British counter-terrorism policy. The changes to the
threat are not gradual, they are not predictable and their solutions
are not always obvious. In the past three years the Arab Spring
has had an unforeseeable impact on the threat landscape as there
has been an increase in ungoverned spaces and the large number
of foreign fighters who have travelled to Syria, and might have
been indoctrinated to present a threat. Indeed, far from a more
benign threat picture, which we might have been hoped for after
thirteen years of intensive counter-terrorism operations, the
situation today seems more complex. The threat from terrorism
has dramatically changed since 2001. Today there are more Al Qa'ida
inspired terrorist groups than in 2001, spread across a wider
geography, with a more diverse and evolving set of capabilities.
A common feature among these terrorist groups is that the UK features
as a primary target. We have included a full threat assessment
as an annex to this report.
3. We took evidence on a wide range of issues, focusing
primarily on three elements of our terms of reference for this
- Whether the UK has sufficient capability to detect,
investigate and disrupt terrorist threats.
- The effectiveness of the Government in working
with foreign Governments and Multi-lateral organisations to counter
terrorist threats at home and abroad.
- Whether the UK effectively supports allies in
building capacity to investigate and prosecute terrorists based
We would like to thank everyone who assisted us with
this inquiry: those who gave evidence to us; officials from the
Kenyan and British Governments who we met in Nairobi; and Google
and YouTube, who hosted a seminar on counter-radicalisation narratives
for us. We would also like to thank our special adviser, Charlie
Edwards, of the Royal United Services Institute.
1 INQ0007 Back