04:29 GMT +318 December 2017
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    The UK government's plans to deploy troops on Britain’s streets in the event of a major terrorist attack is an overreaction and could lead to a dangerous trend of replacing civilian with military personnel, Baroness Jenny Jones, London Assembly member and deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, told Sputnik Wednesday.

    UK’s Plan to Deploy 5,000 Soldiers to Prevent Terror Attacks is Dangerous

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    The UK government's plans to deploy troops on Britain’s streets in the event of a major terrorist attack is an overreaction and could lead to a dangerous trend of replacing civilian with military personnel, Baroness Jenny Jones, London Assembly member and deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, told Sputnik Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — Last week, the plan to deploy over 5,000 military personnel was mistakenly disclosed on the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) website for a short period of time during which it was spotted by the Daily Mail newspaper. The plan was presented a means of supporting armed police officers engaged in security duties in Britain.

    "I recognize the need to provide some military personnel to support the police at a few key locations, but the deployment of 5,000 troops seems an overreaction and raises many questions about whether their role is to support civilian personnel, or to replace them?" Baroness Jones explained.

    She noted that the London Metropolitan Police already had over 500 officers in the specialist Fire Arms Unit, and even more in the Diplomatic Protection Corp. They all were "taught how not to shoot the wrong people," she stressed.

    However, "the military won’t have the same type of training, procedures and culture," Baroness Jones warned.

    "Putting several thousand troops on to the streets would be a sign that Islamic terrorists had grown in strength and we had lost the vital flow of intelligence from within sections of the Muslim community that would prevent such an attack," Baroness Jones said.

    Baroness Jones added that proposed changes to UK counter-terrorism legislation, to make it harsher and more intrusive, would in fact leave the country more vulnerable to terror attacks.

    “I think that some of the proposed changes to Government policy could make us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the future because we are abandoning democratic values and starting to criminalize people for what they think rather than focusing on whether they have broken any law,” Baroness Jones told Sputnik.

    She explained that such an intrusive government approach is “the quickest way to alienate people and put barriers in the way of that flow of intelligence which we need to stop terrorist attacks.”

    “We can either remain an open, democratic society, or we can censor, fuel divisions and let the terrorists win,” Baroness Jones said.

    Military activity on the streets has previously proved controversial in the United Kingdom. In 2003, troops in armored vehicles patrolled Heathrow Airport in response to warnings that certain London sites could be targeted by terrorists, which resulted in speculation and public outcry.

    Earlier this week, media reports emerged that the British Army had resisted the idea of deploying thousands of troop on the streets in the event of a terrorist attack on UK soil.

    Since early 2015, Europe has been especially conscious of its anti-terror security in the wake of January's Islamist shootings on the office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, which claimed the lives of 12 people.

    Related:

    UK Security Office Hired Islamic Extremist to Help Police Combat Terrorism
    UK Police Step Up Security at Wimbledon Amid Terror Concerns
    Tags:
    military, terrorist attack, British Army, National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Baroness Jenny Jones, United Kingdom
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