Great Britain is planning to strengthen its security forces by hiring an additional 1,900 intelligence officers. The move is being made in order to protect the United Kingdom from terrorist threats. The news comes shortly after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris.
The intelligence agencies in Great Britain currently employ about 12,700 individuals. These workers are split between the MI5 agency, the MI6 agency and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The MI5 deals with domestic security issues, while the MI6 handles international security threats. The GCHQ is a communications monitoring agency.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron has also stated that the country will double its spending on airport security, and security efforts will be increased at foreign airports. Cameron made the announcement while he was attending the Group of 20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. Such summits usually focus on economic issues, but they have largely been overshadowed by the recent attacks.
Cameron said, “We will do everything we can to defeat these people who are trying to destroy our way of life. We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalizing people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks. Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale.”
The fight against terrorism is forcing Cameron to work more closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as they both share a common enemy in ISIS. The two men met on Monday for the first time since the G-20 summit of last year. The Russians have been conducting an air campaign in Syria since September. Still, Cameron and Putin strongly disagree about how the situation in Syria should be handled.
Cameron added, “That’s the gap we have. I think it’s been reduced, I hope we can reduce it further. It does require compromise on both sides.”
Along with other Western powers, Great Britain is urging Russia to focus its attacks in Syria on ISIS. Cameron believes that Russia is starting to shift their focus to combating ISIS rather than other concerns.
Cameron has said that he wants to extend the British military campaign in the Middle East in order to better combat ISIS in Syria. However, the Prime Minister has stated that he will not bring the issue into British Parliament until he is certain that the vote would work in his favor. Many British leaders, such as Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, are strongly against an increased military campaign.