MI5 short of surveillance officers says minister

The BBC reports that the UK government has revealed MI5 does not have enough spies to allow it to abolish control orders immediately. Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones said the  Security Service needed to recruit and train more surveillance officers.

Ministers want to introduce a lighter touch regime, which depends on more surveillance, by the end of the year. Parliament approved control orders until New Year’s Eve, with ministers saying the replacement will be ready.That revised system, known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) includes many of the aspects of control  orders but allows greater use of phones and freedom of movement.

But security chiefs want the new freedoms to be balanced by greater secret surveillance of the suspects.
The admission that the Security Service does not yet have enough surveillance officers came on Tuesday evening in a Parliamentary debate on renewing control orders until the end of the year.
The government needs to legislate to introduce TPIMs – but Baroness Neville-Jones told peers that even if the “looser regime” were in place, there was not yet enough manpower “to give the necessary security to the public”.

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