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".

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week