UK budget cuts risk Mumbai-style attacks: Cops

As Britain braces itself for major funding cuts across the public sector, reducing funding for anti-terrorism measures will make Britain vulnerable.

London: As Britain braces itself for major
funding cuts across the public sector, reducing funding for
anti-terrorism measures will make Britain vulnerable to
Mumbai-style attacks, a senior officer of the Scotland Yard
has warned.

A figure of 150 million pounds is expected to be
slashed from anti-terrorism budget, even as a think-tank said
that al Qaeda remained the biggest threat to British security.

As the fifth anniversary of the 7 July London bombings
looms, many question the wisdom of effecting major funding
cuts in anti-terrorism measures even though the terror threat
level continues to be `severe` in Britain.

Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates,
reportedly told a closed door session of a chief constables
conference that the Metropolitan Police would have 87 million
pounds less for the anti-terror budget.

Specialist counter-terrorism units could be required
to save up to 62 million pounds, he said, adding that cuts on
that scale could not be achieved without a "rising burden of
risk".

Yates said protecting the 2012 London Olympic Games
remained a priority, but that would be costly.

Yates, however, was publicly rebuked by Cabinet Office
Minister Francis Maude, for his comments on the ground that
public servants should not indulge in "shroud waving" and
should be concentrating on getting costs down rather than
"alarming the public".

After Yates` speech to the Association of Chief Police
Officers in Manchester, his predecessor Andy Hayman said: "We
should be preparing for when the next attack happens - not
if".

"It is essential we prepare for every eventuality,
from a dirty bomb to a Mumbai-type attack. Fewer officers
means less coverage of dangerous terrorists," Hayman added.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Social Cohesion said many
Britons of Pakistani origin were behind terrorist offences in
the country in the last decade.

It added in a report that over 2,000 people continue
to pose a terrorist threat to the country.

In its report titled `Islamist Terrorism: The British
Connections`, the centre said that al Qaeda or al Qaeda
inspired terrorism "remains the biggest threat to the UK`s
national security".

The report by Centre for Social Cohesion profiles 124
individuals who were convicted for suicide attacks or
terrorism offences in Britain between 1999 and 2009. Of them
"40 individuals had links with terrorist organisations",
mainly the al Qaeda and al-Muhajiroun.

Just under a third had attended one or more terrorist
training camps, "the most common location being Pakistan", the
report says.

Of the 124 individuals, 69 percent were those "holding
British nationality". Half of them had South Central Asian
ancestry.

Twenty-eight percent of these had "some Pakistani
heritage" of whom 80 percent "were British nationals with
Pakistani origins", the report says.

PTI

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