MI5 'using behavioural science' to monitor terrorists

MI5 has increased the number of behavioural scientists it uses by 50 per cent in a bid to ensure terrorists do not slip through the net and go on to commit atrocities.

The Guardian has learnt the organisation has created a new category to rank terror suspects who were on its 'subjects of interest' (SOI) list before being dropped from investigations because they were no longer deemed to pose a threat.

In 2017, a series of terror attacks were committed by former SOIs who were no longer being monitored and internal reviews led to a series of recommendations to improve MI5's counter-terrorism efforts.

Among these were the use of 'tripwires' that would warn investigators when former SOIs may be re-engaging with potentially dangerous people or material and could therefore be a threat once more.

MI5 is now making more use of behavioural analysis on 20,000 former SOIs and it is understood this has led to a number of formerly closed investigations being reopened.

"The new process recognises that closed SOIs are on a spectrum of risk - it is not binary," said a senior Whitehall source.

It comes after an inquest into the London Bridge terror attacks heard the ringleader's brother-in-law had reported him to an anti-terror hotline 18 months previously, only for his message not to be passed on.

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