This week’s House Magazine contains an article from me on the need for public engagement in the development of counter-terrorism policy. This develops themes I have spoken and written about before: control orders and other anti-terror measures must be sensitively explained and enforced, if they are not to feed grievance.
In the article, I point out that the terrorist threat is a very real one but that the:
“the response … has to be proportionate and measured. I believe that this balance is appropriately struck in the government’s CONTEST strategy.
The Prevent strand of the strategy – which aims to divert individuals from going down the path towards violent extremism and to reduce the threat from extreme radicalisers – is co-equal with the Pursue, Protect and Prepare strands.”
And go on to stress:
“nobody regards control orders as being ideal. But any government has a paramount responsibility to protect the public. If there is information or intelligence that suggests that particular individuals present an extreme threat, it would be wrong to ignore it. And if that information cannot be used in court (perhaps because it puts at risk other people who have provided that information), then those who oppose measures like control orders have to explain what they would do instead.
All politicians have a role to play in ensuring that there is a sensible debate about these issues, and a genuine engagement with the public about what is being done to combat terrorism. It is important that people understand why particular measures are being taken, and are able to see that those measures are being used in a fair and proportionate way.”