World

Britain looks to better monitor extremists after their release from prison

British authorities have announced plans for a revamped counterterrorism strategy amid reports that dozens of convicted extremists will be released from prison this year.

According to the Guardian, some 80 terror-related sentences will expire this year

British Secretary of State for the Home Department Sajid Javid outlines an overhaul of U.K. counterterror strategy in central London on Monday. (REUTERS)

British authorities have announced plans for a revamped counterterrorism strategy amid reports that dozens of convicted extremists will be released from prison this year.

As part of the program, domestic security services will be allowed to share information on people of concern with other government agencies, local authorities and businesses.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid used his first major speech in office Monday to say that one of the lessons of the multiple extremist attacks on the U.K. in 2017 is that sensitive information must be shared more broadly with local authorities to prevent militants from having a "safe space" in which to operate.

He said the threat of extremist attacks remains extremely high despite the collapse of the "so-called" caliphate that had been declared by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Javid said the threat of right-wing extremist attacks had also increased. ISIS and right-wing groups have more in common than they acknowledge, he said.

"They both exploit grievances, distort the truth and undermine the values that hold us together."

Javid was on hand Sunday along with Prime Minister Theresa May, centre, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, left, to observe a minute of silence at a commemoration service on the first anniversary of the London Bridge terror attack. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE)

The home secretary said there are "anomalies" in U.K. laws that must be updated to keep up with technology, citing for example statutes that make it "clearly illegal" to download videos that encourage terrorism but don't prohibit streaming them, which has become more common in the past five years.

Security Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC that the new counterterrorism strategy will attempt to persuade individuals to "disengage" from extremist ideology and will focus on supervising those convicted of terror offences after they are released from prison.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Monday that more than 80 of the 193 terror-related sentences handed down between 2007 and 2016 will expire this year. The number of people released could be much higher, it said, because prisoners are eligible for release halfway through their sentences.