MI5 is ‘driving the car’ on far-right terrorism
MI5 will lead the fight against right-wing terrorism in the face of increased efforts from white supremacists to incite violent racial conflict on Britain’s streets, according to the Guardian.
Previously, the police has always taken responsibility for monitoring far-right extremism, but the switch to MI5 means that extreme right-wing activity will now be officially designated as posing a major threat to national security.
It also means that far-right ideology now sits in the same portfolio as Islamist terrorism and Northern Ireland-related terrorism, which are both covered by the domestic security service.
MI5 will take the intelligence lead when extreme right-wing activity is suspected of amounting to terrorism, it is believed.
Britain’s security services revealed earlier this year that four extreme right-wing alleged plots have been thwarted in the UK since March 2017, compared with 13 Islamist plots.
But there are around 100 investigations into the extreme right-wing currently live, suggesting that the threat is growing.
One senior police source told the Guardian that the move made sense: “MI5 are driving the car, and SO15 [Counter Terrorism Command] are in the passenger seat. When there is a need to take a plot out, SO15 get in the driving seat.”