19 January 2004

The Australian: Britain's anti-terror plans slammed:

From correspondents in London

BRITAIN’S anti-terrorism policy is “uncoordinated, condescending and outdated” says a confidential report by a team of security analysts, a British newspaper said today.

“The present policy - such as it is - is no longer plausible,” says the report, commissioned by Britain's top anti-terrorist police officer David Veness, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The 63 page study, which took seven months to compile, aimed to assess what the commercial sector in London could do to assist the police's counter-terrorism effort, the newspaper - which said it had a leaked copy - said.

“The commercial sector appears to be unanimous in its criticism of the present counter-terrorism communications policies prior to a major incident,” the report had said, the paper reported.

“They find it outdated, condescending, generally uncoordinated and at times incoherent,” the report says.

Britain, the United States' main ally in the war against Iraq last March, is widely considered to be high on the list of targets for terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda, responsible for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

“The government's current counter terrorist policy was founded largely out of the outdated premise of preventing public panic by saying as little as possible,” the study reportedly says.

“The scale of the present threat necessitates a well-coordinated and informative approach,” it says, according to the newspaper.

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