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First duty is to protect the British people - PM


First duty is to protect the British people - PM

Gordon Brown has identified national security and "the safety of all our citizens" as his greatest priority as Prime Minister.

In an article for the Sun newspaper today, Mr Brown promised that police and security services would be provided with "every tool they need" to protect the public and combat terrorism. The Prime Minister will make a statement on security to the House of Commons at 12:30 GMT.

The PM said:

"My first duty is to protect the British people and our national security. There is no greater priority, no more important responsibility than the safety of all our citizens.

"But just as the terrorists use every method and use the very freedoms we enjoy to kill and maim people so we must also adopt new tools to beat the terrorists, secure our borders and create a safe global society."

The PM said that security funding, doubled since 2001, will be increased further and that new measures aimed at countering terrorist activity were being drawn up. Mr Brown also highlighted the importance of public vigilance and promised to help build "stronger communities" where extremists would be isolated.

He said:

"Government can do many things - but it cannot by itself build a society where extremism cannot flourish, and terrorists cannot strike. That takes commitment from every community, and vigilance from every one of us."

Today's statement in Parliament comes on the day Lord West delivers his report to the Government containing key security recommendations for the UK. Earlier this morning the Prime Minister met with Lord West, ministers and senior police and intelligence officers in Downing Street to discuss the report and its implications.

***

FULL ARTICLE

Article on National Security, 14 November 2007

My first duty is to protect the British people and our national security.

There is no greater priority, no more important responsibility than the safety of all our citizens.

Terrorism can hit us anywhere from any place.

And terrorism is no longer simply the problem of one country or region. It crosses borders and affects us all, from the September 11th attacks to the Madrid and Bali bombings.

And in London on 7th July 2005 we suffered the horrific loss of life from terrorism in our own streets.

But just as the terrorists use every method and use the very freedoms we enjoy to kill and maim people so we must also adopt new tools to beat the terrorists, secure our borders and create a safe global society.

We will work with America and with all countries of the European Union to defeat terrorist extremism.

We will ensure the police and security services have every tool they need to investigate and bring to justice those who threaten our safety.

That's why we have doubled the security budget since September 11th 2001 and why we will increase it even further in the years to come.

And yes, when our enforcement agencies need new and stronger powers, we will not hesitate to deliver them.

That's why our new anti terrorism bill will mean tougher penalties for terrorist acts, and tougher measures to deal with potential and actual terrorists.

We must also make sure that we continually update the measures we have in place to protect the public.

That's why following the attempted terrorist attacks of June 30th in Glasgow and London, I asked Sir Alan West, the former head of Defence Intelligence, and head of the Navy, now the Labour minister for security, to take a fresh look at the advice we give companies and public bodies who are responsible for crowded places so that they can improve their resilience and vigilance against attacks.

The report he will publish today makes key recommendations for the protection of our national security.

But if we are going to win this fight, we must not just strengthen our police and security resources, or improve our protection against attack.

We must also build better community relations and a stronger sense of our shared British values - what is sometimes called winning the battle of hearts and minds.

We must act now to engage young people from all backgrounds, working with them to build stronger communities in this generation and the next.

We must isolate Islamic extremists who in our colleges and local communities seek to manipulate and divide our society.

So we will support community projects and moderate voices that stand up to radicalization and reject violent extremism. And at the same time we will promote understanding overseas.

We will celebrate and build upon those things that unite Britain - the shared values, traditions and aspirations that promote a strong shared British culture and identity..

The problem we face is complex.

There are no simple solutions or quick fixes.

As I said on Monday we face a generation long challenge.

Government can do many things - but it cannot by itself build a society where extremism cannot flourish, and terrorists cannot strike.

That takes commitment from every community, and vigilance from every one of us.

It takes partnerships that stretch far beyond Whitehall, with everyone - schools and universities, churches and mosques, police officers and ordinary members of the public - playing their part to the full.

It is a battle which we will have to fight street by street, community by community, and year by year.

But standing together, resolute and calm, we can win it.


ENDS

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