The Prime Minister sets up new strategies to focus on physical security, with the rise of total security budget from £2.5B this year to £3.5B by 2011. He said government will encourage more design-in protective security measures. May be every crowded places and public building in the future will be incorporate with CCTV as mandatory security measurement (just like fire alarm/extinguish) , new housing development will be encouraged to include CCTV as optional “build-in furniture”, and perimeter CCTV surveillance as mandatory measurement.
Brown announces new focus on national infrastructure security
14 Nov 07
By Emily Cadman
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a new focus on protecting the national infrastructure, including ports, airports and key commercial areas.
In a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Brown pointed to the conclusions of a strategic review by Lord Alan West and said that planners would be encouraged to design-in physical security to all new buildings.
Among the new security measures were details of the structure and powers of the new UK Border Agency. The new agency will be 25,000 strong and will have the power to detain people on the suspicion of criminal activity – including terrorism.
It will man a single point of entry and exit for both passport and customs control in airports, ports and train stations.
Designing in protective security
In a wide ranging statement, Brown argued that Lord West’s review on the protection of strategic infrastructure such as stations, ports and airports and other crowded places identified a need to step up physical protection against possible vehicle bomb attacks.
“This will include, where judged necessary, improved security at railway stations - focusing first on those of our 250 busiest stations most at risk - and at airport terminals, ports and over 100 sensitive installations,” Brown said.
He added: “The report proposes the installation of robust physical barriers as protection against vehicle bomb attacks, the nomination of vehicle exclusion zones to keep all but authorised vehicles at a safe distance, and making buildings blast resistant.”
Brown stressed that no major failures in protective security had been identified by the review but said that those companies responsible for crowded places – such as cinemas, commercial centres, hospitals and sporting venues – will be sent new and updated advice on improving “their resilience against attack, both by better physical protection and greater vigilance in identifying suspicious behaviour.”
Additionally, “Up to 160 counter-terrorism advisers will train civilian staff to identify suspect activity and to ensure premises have secure emergency exits, CCTV footage used to best effect, and regular searches and evacuation drills. From now on, local authorities will be required as part of their performance framework to assess the measures they have taken to protect against terrorism.”
“The report proposes the installation of robust physical barriers as protection against vehicle bomb attacks, the nomination of vehicle exclusion zones to keep all but authorised vehicles at a safe distance, and making buildings blast resistant”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Brown said that the government would be working closely with architects and planners to encourage them to design-in protective security measures into new buildings such as traffic control measures and the use of blast resistant materials.
Additionally, Brown warned that at some large rail stations, the government is planning to introduce additional screening of baggage and passenger searches.
But in some good news for air travellers, the Prime Minister said that the current restrictions on hand luggage – where passengers are only allowed to travel with one piece of luggage – will begin to be progressively lifted.
Brown also announced a series of rises in both counter-terrorism and security budgets, as well as manpower.
The security budget will rise to £3.5 billion by 2011 from £2.5 billion this year and the manpower of the security service will rise to over 4,000 from 2,000 in 2001.
From the Home Office budget until 2011 there will be an additional £240 million to finance counter terrorism policing. £70 million pounds is being invested in community projects devoted to countering violent extremism.
Counter Terrorism Bill
In the upcoming Counter Terrorism Bill, Brown also confirmed there will be stronger sentences for terrorist related sentences and new powers for the police to monitor the activities of terrorists who have completed their sentences.
“companies responsible for crowded places – such as cinemas, commercial centres, hospitals and sporting venues – will be sent new and updated advice”
The bill will also contain measures designed to help the police pursue those who finance terrorism.
There will be 14 new protected courtrooms to handle terror cases, and a single senior Judge has been nominated to manage all terrorism cases.
A specialist unit in the Prisons Service will also be established tasked with preventing extremists from using prison networks to plot future activities.
UK Border Agency
As of January next year, the UK Border Agency will have the power to detain people not just on the suspicion of immigration or customs offences but also for criminal activity including terrorism.
Airline liaison officers will also be given powers to cancel visas.
Apart from manning a single passport and customs check-point in and out of the UK, the Border Agency will also work throughout the rest of the world. It will be responsible for transferring intelligence from UK operations overseas to those making visa decisions, and to check biometrics taken from visa applicants against criminal and counter-terrorism records.
There will be biometric visas for all applications from March next year, alongside biometric ID cards for foreign nations by the end of 2008 and a strengthening of the e-borders programme.
Brown was speaking ahead of the publication of the National Security Strategy which is expected in the next few weeks.