police

MI5 and police to be given new anti-terror powers 'to target certain high-risk communities'

Security services and police are to be given tougher powers to act against terrorism suspects in communities where the threat of people being radicalised is thought to be highest. Under a new strategy, authorities will aim to identify plotters before they have finalised any plans for terror attacks. Security chiefs believe a “step change” is needed to keep the public safe from terrorism, according to The Sunday Times.

The targeting of certain communities, which will prove controversial, is part of the new approach outlined in leaked counterterrorism strategy documents. The plans call for more focus on “communities where the threat from terrorism and radicalisation is highest” before they strike, the report said, giving MI5 and detectives powers to disrupt plots earlier. It follows last year’s atrocities at Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, in which a total of 35 people were killed.

Three of the five terrorists involved in the attacks were among 23,000 extremists known to the security services, but only one was under active investigation by MI5 when they struck. The new document, due to be published in the coming weeks, sets out how police and MI5 will be able to warn government agencies, councils and devolved administrations about people on their radar before the suspects are deemed dangerous enough to be placed under surveillance. Prison terms for terror offences would be extended, and more intensive monitoring introduced when people are released from jail, under a new counterterror bill.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on leaked documents. The updated counter terrorism strategy, which is still being finalised, will be a comprehensive and cross-cutting response to the evolving threat from domestic and international terrorism. “The home secretary has made crystal clear her determination to leave no safe space for terrorists to act or recruit and to keep our families, communities and country safe.”

The government’s current Prevent strategy – one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy called Contest – is aimed at supporting people at risk of joining extremist groups and carrying out terrorist activities.

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It calls on faith leaders, teachers, doctors and other community leaders to report suspicions about people who may be leaning towards radicalisation to a local Prevent body.

The updated counterterrorism strategy, part of the National Security Capability Review, will also aim to tackle organised criminals, including “corrupt elites”.

The blueprint involves a “whole-of-government” approach to national security, utilising every ministry and agency to tackle threats ranging from terrorist attacks to the use of chemical agents and serious and organised crime.

Over 13600 police guards withdrawn on CJP order

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: More than 13,600 police personnel deputed for the security of unauthorised persons across the country were withdrawn on Saturday in compliance with the order of Chief Justice of Paksitan Mian Saqib Nisar. The unprecedented action taken by the federal and provincial governments will affect many politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former interior minister Aftab Sherpao, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, as well as police officials, journalists, bureaucrats, foreigners and judges. The data provided by law enforcement agencies shows that 4,610 police personnel in Punjab; 5,005 in Sindh; around 3,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; 829 Balo-chistan Constabulary and police personnel in Balo-chistan, 246 in Islamabad have been called back to their stations following the chief justice’s directive.

Move draws sharp criticism as it affects many politicians, judges, police officers, journalists, civilians and foreigners

The CJP had asked the inspectors general police (IGPs) of the provinces and Islamabad on April 19 to withdraw security which had been provided to the non-entitled persons.

The chief justice during his visit to the Peshawar registry had taken notice of the deployment of a large number of police personnel at the residences and offices of the unauthorised persons. He directed the Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad police chiefs “to withdraw the police security within 24 hours from those people who are not entitled, and submit affidavits to the effect duly attested by oath commissioner on next date of hearing April 23 in Islamabad.” Appearing before the chief justice, Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa IGP Salahuddin Mehsud said around 70 per cent people with police security in the province were not entitled to it under rules.

He said he had issued directives for the withdrawal of around 3,000 police personnel from unauthorised persons and gave an undertaking that the security would be withdrawn by Saturday evening. The Punjab police withdrew a total of 4,610 police personnel provided to the non-entitled personalities, including parliamentarians, judges, journalists and police officials for their security. From Lahore alone, 2,480 policemen, including Elite force personnel, were withdrawn from the offices and houses of 441 unauthorised persons.

According to the official figures obtained by Dawn, the Punjab police had “accommodated” in violation of the entitlement criteria as many as 1,853 persons across the province awarding them one or more police personnel for their protection. The statistics showed that 469 officials of the lower judiciary had been provided 626 police officials without their entitlement for the extra security. The police personnel were withdrawn from the officials of the lower judiciary on the CJP order.

Besides, 3,984 policemen were called back from their security duties with 297 politicians, 527 civil administration/police officers, 54 journalists, 250 religious leaders, 23 lawyers and 233 other persons who were not authorised to keep police security. In Sindh, sources said, a total of 5,005 police guards had been withdrawn from unauthorised person till late Saturday evening. In Balochistan, the sources, some 829 security officials belonging to Balochistan Constabulary and police had been withdrawn from the security of non-entitled people.

In Islamabad, the 246 policemen deployed for the protection of politicians, civil judges and officials of the judiciary, retired and serving police officers, district administration, some foreigners, civilians and bureaucrats without their entitlement to keep them were asked to report back to their respective stations. Committee formed Islamabad IGP Dr Sultan Azam Temuri said a committee headed by DIG police security and comprising officials of Nacta, security and intelligence agencies would soon be constituted to deal with the requests for police security in future.

Maryam’s reaction In her reaction to the move, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, tweeted that the chief justice would be responsible if any harm was caused to her father. “My Lord, snatch the security of the (former) prime minister who had targeted terrorists by looking directly into their eyes but if, God forbid, anything happened to him, only you (CJP) will be responsible for it,” she tweeted. ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son in a suicide attack, said he frequently received advices from security agencies to take extraordinary measures for his protection.

He said hundreds of die-hard workers and leaders of his party faced tragedies not because of any private enmity but for the larger cause of the country. Earlier on Friday, the JUI-F chief’s personal secretary sent a letter sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG seeking proper security. “The JUI-F chief is serving as chairman of the parliament’s Kashmir committee and “is facing security threats”. Zulfiqar Ali from Peshawar also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018

Over 13600 police guards withdrawn on CJP order

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: More than 13,600 police personnel deputed for the security of unauthorised persons across the country were withdrawn on Saturday in compliance with the order of Chief Justice of Paksitan Mian Saqib Nisar. The unprecedented action taken by the federal and provincial governments will affect many politicians, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former interior minister Aftab Sherpao, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, as well as police officials, journalists, bureaucrats, foreigners and judges. The data provided by law enforcement agencies shows that 4,610 police personnel in Punjab; 5,005 in Sindh; around 3,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; 829 Balo-chistan Constabulary and police personnel in Balo-chistan, 246 in Islamabad have been called back to their stations following the chief justice’s directive.

Move draws sharp criticism as it affects many politicians, judges, police officers, journalists, civilians and foreigners

The CJP had asked the inspectors general police (IGPs) of the provinces and Islamabad on April 19 to withdraw security which had been provided to the non-entitled persons.

The chief justice during his visit to the Peshawar registry had taken notice of the deployment of a large number of police personnel at the residences and offices of the unauthorised persons. He directed the Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Islamabad police chiefs “to withdraw the police security within 24 hours from those people who are not entitled, and submit affidavits to the effect duly attested by oath commissioner on next date of hearing April 23 in Islamabad.” Appearing before the chief justice, Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa IGP Salahuddin Mehsud said around 70 per cent people with police security in the province were not entitled to it under rules.

He said he had issued directives for the withdrawal of around 3,000 police personnel from unauthorised persons and gave an undertaking that the security would be withdrawn by Saturday evening. The Punjab police withdrew a total of 4,610 police personnel provided to the non-entitled personalities, including parliamentarians, judges, journalists and police officials for their security. From Lahore alone, 2,480 policemen, including Elite force personnel, were withdrawn from the offices and houses of 441 unauthorised persons.

According to the official figures obtained by Dawn, the Punjab police had “accommodated” in violation of the entitlement criteria as many as 1,853 persons across the province awarding them one or more police personnel for their protection. The statistics showed that 469 officials of the lower judiciary had been provided 626 police officials without their entitlement for the extra security. The police personnel were withdrawn from the officials of the lower judiciary on the CJP order.

Besides, 3,984 policemen were called back from their security duties with 297 politicians, 527 civil administration/police officers, 54 journalists, 250 religious leaders, 23 lawyers and 233 other persons who were not authorised to keep police security. In Sindh, sources said, a total of 5,005 police guards had been withdrawn from unauthorised person till late Saturday evening. In Balochistan, the sources, some 829 security officials belonging to Balochistan Constabulary and police had been withdrawn from the security of non-entitled people.

In Islamabad, the 246 policemen deployed for the protection of politicians, civil judges and officials of the judiciary, retired and serving police officers, district administration, some foreigners, civilians and bureaucrats without their entitlement to keep them were asked to report back to their respective stations. Committee formed Islamabad IGP Dr Sultan Azam Temuri said a committee headed by DIG police security and comprising officials of Nacta, security and intelligence agencies would soon be constituted to deal with the requests for police security in future.

Maryam’s reaction In her reaction to the move, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, tweeted that the chief justice would be responsible if any harm was caused to her father. “My Lord, snatch the security of the (former) prime minister who had targeted terrorists by looking directly into their eyes but if, God forbid, anything happened to him, only you (CJP) will be responsible for it,” she tweeted. ANP general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son in a suicide attack, said he frequently received advices from security agencies to take extraordinary measures for his protection.

He said hundreds of die-hard workers and leaders of his party faced tragedies not because of any private enmity but for the larger cause of the country. Earlier on Friday, the JUI-F chief’s personal secretary sent a letter sent to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IG seeking proper security. “The JUI-F chief is serving as chairman of the parliament’s Kashmir committee and “is facing security threats”. Zulfiqar Ali from Peshawar also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018