May postpones counter-terrorism review plans until next election
Plans to review the structure of counter-terrorism policing have been delayed by home secretary Theresa May as a direct result of security fears due to international terrorism.
In a statement the Home Office said: “In light of the recent increase in the terrorist threat level we can confirm there will be no review of counter-terrorism policing during this Parliament.”
Under May it had been expected that counter-terrorism responsibility would move from the Metropolitan Police to the UK’s FBI-style unit the National Crime Agency (NCA).
MP’s earlier this year had sought changes including reducing Scotland Yard’s power in overseeing and leading investigations, according to the BBC.
In the 17th report on counter-terrorism published on 9th May 2014 by the Home Affairs Committee, the Metropolitan Police mentioned to have suffered a number of “difficulties and that the responsibility for counter-terrorism ought to be moved to the NCA in order to allow the Met to focus on the basics of policing London”.
The proposed review will now not happen before May. According to the BBC, it is believed the delay and rearrangement will be welcomed by senior police officers who believe there is no benefit in exchanging the role.
In its statement the Home Office also emphasised that it is still committed to improving collaboration between the police and agencies working on counter-terrorism.
The NCA was set up last October and currently has authority to instruct police forces to investigate both serious and organised crime.
In August, the UK’s terror threat level increased from “substantial” to “severe.” The Home Office’s statement at the time attributed the increase as “related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West”.
The Metropolitan Police Service currently contains the Counter Terrorism Command and has over 1,500 police officers and staff working with both the security and intelligence agencies as well as oversees investigators.