UK facing unprecedented terrorist threat, says head of MI5

Posted On: 
18th October 2017

The UK is facing a terror threat at an unprecedented "scale and pace", the head of MI5 has warned in a rare public intervention. 

MI5 chief Andrew Parker speaking in central London yesterday
Credit: 
PA

Andrew Parker said the security services were dealing with extremists both in the UK and abroad, from crude 'lone wolf' style attacks to more sophisticated plots.

“That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before," he told security journalists yesterday.

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“It’s at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career. Today there is more terrorist activity, coming at us more quickly, and it can be harder to detect.”

He was speaking ahead of reports on what lessons the security services can learn from this year's terrorist atrocities in Manchester and London.

Mr Parker said that his staff were dealing with an unprecedented array of different threats.

"The threat is more diverse than I’ve ever known. Plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well. Plots online.

"Complex scheming and also crude stabbings; lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks. Extremists of all ages, gender and backgrounds, united only by the toxic ideology of violent victory that drives them.”

He added that the security services were often faced with having to work out what might happen based on only "fragments" of intelligence.