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Brown calls for bomb-proof Britain

  • Story Highlights
  • PM Gordon Brown announces new security measures
  • Security to be stepped up and rail and air terminals
  • Measures include installation of barriers on roadways and design regulations
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain is to ramp up security at air and rail terminals as part of sweeping new anti-terror measures that will see buildings bomb-proofed and citizens placed under more surveillance, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday.

Armed British police patrol Terminal 4 at London's Heathrow airport, August 14, 2006.

Brown told parliament the measures were a response to the attempted terrorist attacks in June in which a group of al Qaeda-linked foreign-born doctors launched unsuccessful attacks in the UK.

In London a car bomb was found parked near a crowded London nightclub while in Glasgow an explosives-laden vehicle was driven into an airport terminal.

They "will require not just military and security resources, but more policing, more intelligence, and an enhanced effort to win hearts and minds," Brown said.

Under Brown's plans, buildings will be made more explosion-resistant and public places more physically protected to minimize shrapnel in the event of a car bomb.

The prime minister said the government would work with architects and designers to encourage them to build with blast-resistant materials and introduce traffic control measures like large barriers or vehicle-exclusion zones.

The government will step up security at railway stations, where it will introduce random baggage and passenger screening. Airport terminals, ports, and other "sensitive installations" will also see enhanced security, Brown said.

As many as 160 "counterterrorism advisers" will work with theaters, restaurants, hotels, sports venues, hospitals, schools, and places of worship to train civilian staff to identify suspicious behavior, Brown said.

The current security budget of 2.5 billion pounds ($5 billion) will increase to 3.5 billion pounds ($7 billion) by 2011, Brown said.

Convicted terrorists and terrorist suspects also face more stringent measures. They include stronger sentences for terror-related offenses, new powers for police to monitor terrorists after they leave prison, asset freezing, and more sophisticated monitoring of suspects' financial transactions.

Brown said the government would build 14 new "specially-protected courtrooms" for cases involving "violent extremism" and hire a single senior judge and single senior prosecutor to deal with those cases.

"We will only seek new powers that are essential to the fight against terrorism," Brown told lawmakers.

A new 25,000-member border agency will oversee border security, Brown said. It will have the power to detain people for criminal activities including terrorism - not just customs and immigration offenses - and will combine passport and customs checks in a single border checkpoint, Brown said.

New efforts to challenge extremist propaganda involve the government working with schools, youth clubs, prisons, and mosques.

"The governance of mosques should be strengthened to help serve communities better and to challenge those who feed hate," Brown said. "Our consultation with Muslim communities emphasize the importance of the training of imams, including English-language requirements."

The government will work with charities and prisons to make sure they are not used for the spread of terrorism, and it will sponsor counter-propaganda events in Britain and overseas, Brown said.


To fight extremism online, Brown said the home secretary is inviting representatives from global technology and media companies for a meeting.

"This will not be achieved by one single program or initiative, and it won't be achieved overnight," Brown said. "It is a generational challenge which requires sustained work over the long term." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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