Brown warns of 'evolving' terrorist threat to UK
PM promises full-body scanners at airports after Christmas Day bomb plot
Gordon Brown today issues a stark New Year warning that the terrorist threat to Britain is "evolving".
He says the failed attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit was a "wake-up call" and pledges new measures to track and detect the "enemies of democracy and freedom" plotting new methods of attack.
In a message on the Downing Street website, he says: "The new decade is starting as the last began, with al-Qa'ida creating a climate of fear."
He promises tighter security to prevent a repeat of the Christmas Day bomb plot, signalling that full body scanners will be installed in major airports within months. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to ignite explosives stitched into his underpants during the final minutes of a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
The Prime Minister says the bungled bomb attack is a reminder of the "very real threat" posed by international terrorism. As well as introducing the scanners, which take images of the naked body, the hands of travellers could be examined for signs of explosives, and luggage checked by more sophisticated x-ray machines. Mr Brown says that terrorists are using new methods of hiding bomb-making materials from security staff.
He writes: "We now know that the would-be bomber used a small quantity of explosive that went undetected by standard airport security equipment. We need, therefore, to continually explore the most sophisticated devices capable of identifying explosives, guns, knives and other such items anywhere on the body.
"So, in cooperation with President Obama and the Americans, we will examine a range of new techniques to enhance airport security systems beyond the traditional measures, such as pat-down searches and sniffer dogs. These could include advancing our use of explosive trace technology, full body scanners and advanced x-ray technology. Working alongside the US and other partners, we will move things forward quickly."
Scanners are being trialled at Manchester Airport and have been tested at Heathrow, but are not yet fully operational. Yesterday Dutch ministers promised to install them for flights to the US within three weeks.
Mr Brown also promises to improve information-sharing between Britain and America about transatlantic passengers, indicating that the number of suspected terrorist sympathisers banned from flying will be increased.
"In light of the Detroit incident we all urgently need to work together on how we might further tighten these arrangements – in particular, at what point suspects are added to the list and when they are deemed too risky to be allowed to fly, or leave or enter the country."
Mr Brown says Yemen, where Abdulmutallab is thought to have made contact with senior al-Qa'ida figures, has become "an incubator and potential safe haven for terrorism" and therefore presents a global threat. The Prime Minister promises extra help to the country through aid exceeding £100m next year and by the creation of a "Friends of Yemen" group in the region to "pool effort, resource and expertise".
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...