In response, the Committee recommends that the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) should be upgraded into a high-tech, state-of-the-art, round-the-clock, central Operational Hub which locates the perils early, moves quickly to block them and is able to instantly share the sensitive information with other security agencies. Representatives of all the relevant agencies should be co-located within CTIRU.
It is estimated that 800 UK-linked fighters have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflicts began there. 50% of these foreign fighters are thought to have returned to the UK. Terrorism-related arrests in the UK were 35% higher in 2015 than in 2010.
"We are engaged in a war for hearts and minds in the fight against terrorism. The modern front line is the internet. Its forums, message boards and social media platforms are the lifeblood of Daesh and other terrorist groups for their recruitment and financing and the spread of ideology. Huge corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter, with their billion dollar incomes, are consciously failing to tackle this threat and passing the buck by hiding behind their supranational legal status, despite knowing that their sites are being used by the instigators of terror. Even when someone is convicted, such as Anjem Choudary, their videos and hateful speeches continue to influence people through these websites. The companies' failure to tackle this threat has left some parts of the internet ungoverned, unregulated and lawless.
Britain's security apparatus and its personnel are the best in the world, however new threats are constantly emerging. The existing Metropolitan Police internet referral unit should be expanded and upgraded into a state-of-the-art, round-the-clock hub to immediately shut down terrorist activity online. It must include operatives from the Home Office, the security services, the Police, internet companies and others. The Government must develop an effective counter-narrative to the slick and effective propaganda machine being run by Daesh. We should utilise the brightest talent of the world's creative industries to counter terrorist propaganda with even more sophisticated anti-radicalising material. In the face of this new threat, we need a terrestrial star wars.
The communities most affected by Prevent regard it as being toxic. Successive governments have failed to heed repeated calls for a review of Prevent. Prevent needs to become a more transparent, stakeholder-led, inclusive strategy, and be renamed Engage. It is vital that this strategy fully involves the Muslim community in a new partnership. Organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain should see it as one of their primary duties to take a leading role in tackling extremism. These organisations can do so much more to expose, remove, and isolate those who preach or advocate race hate and intolerance, and to protect their own vulnerable young people from being pulled towards extremism.
The support provided to the families whose loved ones have been sucked into extremism or reached the 'tipping point' is deeply disappointing. The 'anti-terrorist helpline' is so obviously misnamed that it stigmatises those in need of support, or those with vital information to impart. The Government must change its name immediately. If accessible, trusted and immediate support was available to families and vulnerable young people, the tragedy of people leaving Britain towards terrible consequences could be avoided. Exiting Britain to fight for Daesh is tantamount to taking the escalator to an early death. One in two people do not return. The contrast between the failure to stop the departure of the Bethnal Green girls and the commendable success of the recovery of the young men from Brent is stark. Identifying the tipping point remains the holy grail in our fight against radicalisation."