SHAFAQNA -Â Leaked plans to deploy thousands of armed soldiers on British streets to counter terrorism have been criticized by a prominent peer as â€œprovocativeâ€ and â€œshockingâ€ act that reflects the weakness of the government.
â€œPutting troops on the streets would be very controversial,â€ Baroness Jenny Jones, who sits on Londonâ€™s Police and Crime Committee, told The Independent on Sunday, July 26.
â€œI think it would be very provocative and cause more problems than it would solve.â€
Green peer and London Assembly member Jones was referring to a leaked secret police plan minutes from a meeting of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) in the wake of Paris terror attacks earlier this year.
Announced under the codename “Operation Temperer”, the plan would see up to 5,100 heavily armed soldiers deployed to key targets in inner cities alongside armed police officers, according leaked documents cited by the Daily Mail.
Large scale military support could â€œaugment armed police officers engaged in protective security duties,â€ the leaked minutes said.
The secret documents were accidentally uploaded to NPCC website last April under the heading â€œCounter Terrorism Post Paris Large Scale Military Support to the Policeâ€.
â€œThe minutes of the meeting were uploaded last Thursday afternoon and removed and revised early on Friday morning when it was identified that details from the closed session had been included,â€ an NPCC spokesperson said.
The PM has set out four pillars to combat extremism in the country, including offering a counter-narrative to the â€œwarpedâ€ ideology of the so-called Islamic State (ISIL), stemming the process of radicalization, ensuring moderate Muslim voices are heard and reversing the â€œidentity crisesâ€ among some British-born Muslims.
The new counter-terrorism measures have been criticized by British Muslims as â€œcontradictoryâ€ and â€œover-simplifiedâ€ for confusing extremism and terrorism with cohesion and integration while tackling the home-grown extremism.
Despite stirring up controversy, the secret police plan has won the praise of some voices.
Welcoming the plan, Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank, deemed it â€œsensibleâ€.
â€œYou really have to have contingency planning, to prepare for potentially the worst,â€ Pantucci said.
â€œIf you had multiple sites as they had in the Paris attacks, it is possible you would have overstretch, you would look to other options and the Army would be the most obvious port of call.â€
Meanwhile, Jones raised uncertainty about the secret plan, asking whether troops were being trained to deal with members of the public.
â€œIt would not be appropriate to use themâ€ if they had not, she added.
If it reached the situation where military help was necessary, the Government would have to have lost control, Baroness Jones said, adding that â€œit would make them look weak and panickyâ€.
â€œSomething that would be this extraordinary,â€ she said.
â€œI think the principle of this should be debated in Parliament.â€
After winning last Mayâ€™s elections, Conservatives announced plans to revive the much-criticized Snoopersâ€™ Charter bill, with its huge surveillance powers.
Under the controversial legislation, phone and internet companies will be required to maintain records of customerâ€™s internet, email and mobile phone activity for 12 months, without intruding calls or messages.
In November 2014, Cameron disclosed that British fighters travelling abroad to take part in the conflict in Syria and Iraq could be prevented from returning to the UK under a new Counter Terrorism Bill.
Under new â€œexclusion ordersâ€ announced by Cameron, suspected fighters would be barred from returning to Britain unless they agreed to be placed under strict controls.
Rights groups criticized the new proposals as being unjust and warned they were pushing Britain into becoming a â€œpolice stateâ€.
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