Priti Patel Says U.K. Faces Heightened Terrorist Threat After Lockdown
(Bloomberg) -- Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that Britain faces a heightened threat of terrorism, with Covid restrictions contributing to a range of “triggers,” including more time online and poorer mental health.
“We’ve had a year of people being locked down, we see all sorts of issues in terms of mental health, for example,” Patel told Times Radio Tuesday. “We have to look at a wide range of environmental factors that could act as triggers when it comes to terrorism-type behavior, and the threats to individuals, and also to society so there is a lot of work taking place.”
Restrictions on movement led to a decline in terrorist activity -- and in 2020 the Islamic State terrorist network even warned its followers to stay away from Europe to avoid Covid-19. Yet Britain’s security agencies are concerned the increased amount of time spent online during the pandemic could lead to radicalization and in turn, future attacks, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The agencies have seen a spike in cases in which extreme right-wing groups were recruiting teenagers over the internet, the person said. Most casework still comes from the risk of Islamist terrorism, though, with a smaller amount of time taken up dealing with the threat of new-wave Irish republican-related terrorism.
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