Almost 400 charged with terror offences

Almost 400 people have been charged with terrorism-related offences since September 2001, John Reid has said.

The home secretary said 214 of the 387 charged have already been convicted, and 98 await trial.

He highlighted the figures as an example of the “unremitting” struggle that Britain faced against terrorism, and which had at its heart a “battle for values”.

In this battle, the police, security services and armed forces “cannot win the campaigns on which we embarked on their own”, he warned.

Mr Reid called on public, private and voluntary groups to help develop new ways to defeat terrorism, saying organisations must innovate “at a pace that outstrips our adversaries”.

Speaking to a technology conference in London, the home secretary said the number of conspiracies Britain faces “measure not in the ones and twos but in the tens”.

“That is an indication of the scale of the threat we face. And in response to the struggle has to be at every level in every way and by every single person in this country,” he said.

“It is easy to forget that between trials, between headlines, just how deep and ongoing this struggle is but it is an unremitting one.”

The government has proposed a security and resilience innovation task force, and invited security firms but also universities, trade unions and voluntary groups to take part.

“Resilience must, by definition be enduring. And endurance in changing circumstances requires continuing innovation. Innovation in turn requires competitiveness,” Mr Reid argued.

He said: “Our defence, police and security forces are very necessary but insufficient to the challenge we together face.”

Shadow home secretary David Davis welcomed the call to stay one step ahead of terrorists, but said setting up a dedicated UK border police force and a single national security minister would help – proposals the government has consistently ignored.

“The fact that hundreds of people have been charged reinforces our point that it is often not new legislation that is required but the will of the government to use existing legislation in dealing with terrorists,” he added.