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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 13:53 GMT
Reid makes Nazi terror comparison
Home Secretary John Reid
The Home Secretary believes businesses can help combat terror
The attempt to foil terror plots by creating effective security measures has been compared to the battle against the Nazis by Home Secretary John Reid.

In a speech at a technology conference, he said the technological race to stay ahead of extremists recalls "innovators of the past", notably in World War II.

Mr Reid said 387 people in the UK had been charged with terrorism offences since September 2001.

Among those, 214 had been convicted and 98 were still due to go on trial.

'On-going struggle'

After revealing these details, which cover the period from 9 September 2001 to 30 September this year, he said: "That is an indication of the scale of the threat which we face.

"In responding to it, the struggle has to be at every level, in every way and by every single person in this country.

"It is easy between trials and between headlines to forget just how deep this on-going struggle is."

Mr Reid said business played a vital role in creating the security and resilience needed to defeat terrorists.

He urged the security sector to harness their expertise in the same way as bouncing bomb inventor Barnes Wallis and the Enigma code cracker Alan Turing did.

"In a sense it is a recall of the innovators of the past," said the home secretary.

Innovation taskforce

He went on: "Just as in the past people, like Barnes Wallis or Alan Turing or Tommy Flowers (computing pioneer), were vital in a technological battle to beat the then enemy, the Nazis, so we must be able to utilise the skills and expertise of all in our society in the battle against terror."

The home secretary also proposed the creation of a new "innovation taskforce" to encourage security and technology companies to work together where possible.

Mr Reid added that it was essential to remain ahead of international competitors but also to pre-empt the "enemy who seeks our weaknesses".

Border police call

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "The fact that hundreds of people have been charged reinforces our point that it is often not new legislation that is required but the will of the government to use existing legislation in dealing with terrorists.

"We acknowledge the need to stay one step ahead of the terrorist. It is what we have been saying for years.

"It is because of this we wonder why the government still refuses our call to establish a dedicated UK border police force, to appoint a single minister to co-ordinate our security efforts, or to allow the use of intercept evidence, subject to appropriate safeguards, in terror trials."

The conference in central London, called the Security and Resilience Forum, was organised by technology company Smiths Group.

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