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EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 10:53 GMT
Text of terror warning
The text of the statement on terrorism in Home Secretary David Blunkett's name released by the Home Office and later withdrawn.

Providing safety and security for its citizens is the first duty of government.

Well before the terrorist atrocities in the USA, Bali and elsewhere, the UK had been forced to develop one of the most sophisticated counter-terrorism regimes in the world to counter Irish-related terrorism.

Since the September 11th attacks, we have strengthened still further our domestic security, while investing time and money in increasing our ability to deal with a major attack.

These measures include:

  • the tightening of aviation security on the ground and in the air
  • the enhancement of legislation in respect of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons
  • the introduction of a new enhanced programme to provide protective security advice to critical sectors of UK industry
  • the UK taking an active role in building and complying with international standards set to combat terrorist financing
  • an increase in the general capacity of counter-terrorist policing
  • participation in a number of major joint operations against suspected terrorists, resulting in a number of arrests and having a significant impact on terrorists
  • a substantial increase in efforts devoted to counter-terrorism work across all the security and intelligence agencies.

In addition, prior to the attacks on the United States, the UK government had already begun to review and improve contingency planning in the UK.

Experience in this area led to the formation of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat within the Cabinet Office to draw together and co-ordinate the different strands of Government activity that come into play in handling such difficult challenges.

This document (Mr Blunkett's comments were in the foreword to a document on counter terrorism) provides a summary of the measures we have taken since September 11 last year and our most recent actions.

However, we must be clear that we remain a target and there can be no guarantees there will not be an attack in the future.


We must ensure that we live free of the fear of terrorism, otherwise the terrorists have won

Though we have increased our intelligence gathering significantly since 11 September and helped disrupt terrorist activity, there is no such thing as 100% intelligence and British citizens remain at risk from both international and Irish terrorists.

We cannot be sure of when or where or how terrorists will strike.

'Dirty bomb'

But we can be sure that they will try. They may attempt to use more familiar terrorist methods, such as leaving parcel or vehicle bombs in public places, or hijacking passenger aircraft.

However, they may try something different, perhaps as surprising as the attacks on the World Trade Center, or the theatre siege in Moscow.

Maybe they will try to develop a so-called dirty bomb, or some kind of poison gas, maybe they will try to use boats or trains rather than planes. The bottom line is that we simply cannot be sure.


None of this means an attack is imminent - but what it does mean is that we must all give priority to security and make security a part of our everyday lives

We must be prepared to face this evolving pattern of terrorist activity and this is why we needed to introduce new legislation and new operational measures.

None of this means an attack is imminent. But what it does mean is that we must all give priority to security and make security a part of our everyday lives.

For government, it means continuing the broad and vigorous programme of protective security work that we are already pursuing.

Alert

For businesses it means ensuring that the security plans that were carefully drawn up after September 11 have not been forgotten about, and are still relevant and being implemented.

The key for most people, however, is just remembering to be alert and vigilant - keeping an eye out for suspect packages at stations, or people acting suspiciously at airports, for instance, and reporting anything suspicious to the correct authorities.

In this respect, I must stress that aviation security measures remain at an enhanced level following the attacks on 11 September 2001 and the government keeps these measures under constant review, and from time to time additional protective steps will be taken as the situation demands, but none of that replaces the need for public vigilance.

I am determined that we continue to balance the need to take all necessary measures with the imperative of living our lives, free from fear.

We must ensure that we live free of the fear of terrorism, otherwise the terrorists have won.

Mr Blunkett then went on to outline how the government is working with the US on countering terrorism.

See also:

01 Nov 02 | England
30 Oct 02 | Politics
09 Sep 02 | Americas
03 Jul 02 | Politics
Internet links:


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