Home Office launches campaign to tackle the threat of lone terrorist
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to tackle the growing threat of "lone terrorists" - individuals with no direct links to groups such as al-Qaeda who are radicalised through information they find online.
The Home Office has launched a website where members of the public can report material on the internet which could be used to incite terrorism.
British police will then try to take the information down to prevent the radicalisation of people in the UK.
Tayside Assistant Chief Constable Colin McCashey, Scotland's head of counter-terrorism, said: "What's happened in the past six months is we've seen the terrorist threat is enduring but also able to change in terms of the tactics being used by terrorists and would-be terrorists.
"The main cause of concern is the use of the internet. We look at that from two angles. One is that if I was in a country 1,000 miles away I could communicate with would-be terrorists, or people vulnerable to radicalisation, via the internet. This has become more of a threat to us.
"The other is that we are aware of people who may be sitting in the comfort of their own home, looking at the internet, who are becoming more aware of what is on the internet.
"We might be faced with problem individuals who are not part of a network, who are not connected to al-Qaeda, but who take it on themselves and act as a lone terrorist.
"It does not take a great deal of imagination to realise how difficult that is to deal with."
Mr McCashey said the threat was one of a range of possible terrorism scenarios, with the lone terrorist at one end of the spectrum and a Mumbai-style multiple firearms assault at the other.
However, it is a new and emerging danger and one that is difficult to stop.
The threat of a terror attack on Scotland is severe and has been for some time.
The only attack so far is the thwarted Glasgow Airport bombing, when a dark green Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane canisters was driven into the glass doors of the Glasgow International Airport terminal and set on fire.
The behind the attack were Bilal Abdullah, a British-born Muslim doctor of Iraqi descent working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and Kafeel Ahmed, the driver, who died from his injuries three days later.
Abdullah was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Mr McCashey said the uncertainty surrounding countries in the Middle East, most notably and most recently Libya, makes the threat at home harder to predict.
"The risk is sustained and is with us for the foreseeable future," Mr McCashey said."There are so many variables existing outside the UK, we need to look towards what is happening in the Middle East and Libya, and the influence that could have.
"That could influence the sustainability of the threat and I don't think we should undermine the impact we could face in an international context.
"It could make us less vulnerable or more vulnerable, it's extremely unpredictable and outside our control."
lThe website can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/reportingonlineterrorism
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