As a result of this, the government as well as private facets in the
Before delving too deeply into counter-terrorism policies, it is important to look into an aspect related to terrorism that many do not consider unless it directly affects them is the issue of insuring property which is destroyed by random acts of terror. This is one of many instances which will be discussed where policies in the
The British government, realizing the need to intervene in this situation, drew from resource surpluses and a range of other assets, and created a program which would reimburse any insurer who covered terrorism damage. Pool Re, which was the name given to the program, was considered to be a positive attempt at insuring public safety and livelihood, although at the time the article was written, it still had many problems to work out. While this program did have inherent complications, it does demonstrate the interest of the government in public safety and its commitment to the citizen’s standards of living. It is also a good example of how the British government has been forced to alter traditional norms in response to extraordinary circumstances which the nation has been placed in after being plagued by terrorist assaults.
In other countries around the world that have dealt with similar levels of terror activity, policies involving insurance have varied considerably. In
While acts like Pool Re, where the government intervenes into the public and private lives of its citizens for their well-being are definitely involved, more commonly government intervention in relation to terrorism is observed as an intrusion into the public’s rights and freedoms. The remaining portion of this study will examine a few of these areas and attempt to determine the degree in which the British have negatively or positively intervened into the people’s lives.
The first issue is the treatment of minority groups who have connection to terrorist groups or activities and how government legislation and practices infringe on their civil liberties. Historically, being the time between the 1950’s and shortly after the turn of the century,
After the September 11 bombings, however, it became glaringly clear that the
In the late 1990’s and early in the new millennium, the British government being led by Prime Minister Tony Blair enacted an immense amount of legislation regarding terrorism and the protection of human rights. In 1998 the Human Rights Act was adopted in
The result of this legislation, is the constitutional freedom of government to exercise its powers as officials deem fit, in order to provide security for the citizens of the nation, which also target minority groups, mainly British Muslims and restrict their freedoms in a number of ways. Such issues include no-fly lists for persons who are suspected to be of concern to public safety, which have led to numerous incidents of mistaken identity and subsequent law suits, as well as the freedom of mobility in and out of the
In 2005 the Blair government proposed a motion which would legally extend the length of time a suspect can be held before trial from fourteen days to ninety days. This motion was soundly defeated by the opposition parties as well as members of Blair’s cabinet. While the ninety-day proposition was not accepted on the grounds that it was undemocratic, members of the House of Commons did extend the duration from fourteen to twenty-eight days, as well as enacting other amendments such as the introduction of control orders which allow the government to place curfews and house arrests on suspected terror criminals.
Finally, in early 2006, the British government passed a motion to expand the services and duties of MI5, by drastically increasing its personnel and budget to combat the operations of suspected terrorist cells throughout the
These acts create little doubt that the government is willing to cross the line of civil liberties and human rights in the name of counter-terrorism. It is difficult to justify acts which infringe so deeply on the public’s freedoms, but it appears as though there will always be a grey area surrounding this subject. The matter boils down to how far the public will allow these procedures to take place before it becomes unbearable on their moral consciences.
In relation to the European Union’s counter-terrorism policies, it is difficult to determine where the
The second aspect also has to do with the wording, but more specifically the topic of terrorism. As Munar points out, the European Union’s legislation identifies the greatest threat to EU citizens is homegrown terrorism, whereas the United Kingdom’s legislation acknowledges this factor, but does not limit itself to any one type of terrorism or terrorist group and cites any factors that threaten security as a concern. This is likely resulting from the British historical references in battling “foreign” rebel movements such as the Irish Republican Army, as well as the new breed of British Islamist terrorism.
In regards to civil liberties and human rights infringements, the United Kingdom’s legislation has historically produced more claims and concerns, than the European Union, however, in certain aspects, the EU has surpassed Britain, the most prominent being the practice of carrying identification cards. This has been a mainstay in European society since the inauguration of the single-market, which allowed citizens the freedom to work across all EU borders. However, in the modern climate of international terror threats, these cards have been used by governments for surveillance and tracking purposes, which tramples on the EU’s reputation for being a loosely interventionist state. This system has been rejected in the
Arguably the greatest evolution and change which has resulted from terror prevention and related legislation in the United Kingdom is the high level of civilian and suspected criminal surveillance that constantly monitors the entire state. The idea of “Big Brother” carefully observing the citizen’s every move to rid the nation of militant behaviour and unlawful deeds has become an accepted facet of life in the contemporary British Isles, however, the roots of this belief have been embedded in the society’s customs for the better part of two centuries.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, many throughout Britain were unsatisfied with the state of the nation’s penal system, which was commonly referred to as the “Bloody Code,” as it arbitrarily arrested, convicted and brutally punished thousands of offenders, for crimes ranging from minor property damage to more heinous acts like rape or murder. Often the result of these trials would be public execution by hanging and in the best-case scenario, a vicious flogging. This caused a number of reformers to introduce new types of punishments which were designed to deviate from punishing the body, to punishing the mind. Leading this charge was a brilliant young prodigy named Jeremy Bentham.
Bentham made it his mission to reform the way that criminal justice was punished in
Michael Faucault expands on this notion in the chapter entitled the Carceral, which takes the panopticon to the next level, as it incorporates all aspects of society, from children’s education to hospital systems, into this omnipresent regulating and monitoring force. These examples display that the belief in surveillance acting as a deterrent for those with unsavoury thoughts have existed in Britain for over one-hundred and fifty years and are just reaching fruition at present times.
At current date, there are approximately 4.2 million closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras monitoring
This frantic surge in surveillance capabilities in Britain have been adopted as recently as 1999, when the government spent over $200 million to maintain security in a time of uncertainty, following decades of violent acts by the IRA. This history, mixed with the militant group’s refusal to disarm following the signing of the 1998 Belfast Agreement between
The topic of constant surveillance across the
 Dockyard shrapnel is the name given to a technique which has become very popular with modern Islamist terror organizations, where an automobile is filled with explosive material, as well as common hardware, such as nails, screws and even objects like children’s marbles. These vehicles are usually parked in high traffic areas, such as entertainment or financial districts, and are detonated, which propels the pieces of metal flying out of the car, wounding, maiming or killing innocent bystanders in a close radius. In July 2007, one of these cars was removed from a
 MI5 is the national wing of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and is responsible for handling all aspects of Home security. The SIS was created during World War I to coordinate between British military factions. The international wing of the SIS is known as MI6. (Security Service MI5 website).