The terror threat to Britain is increasing as Islamic State (IS) loses battles and territory in Syria and Iraq, the Security Minister has said.
Ben Wallace said extremist Britons and other Europeans are either unable to get out to the region to join IS, also known as Isis, or have come home and are trying to inspire homegrown fanatics to carry out attacks.
The terror group has already lost its base in Iraq, Mosul, and is facing an international coalition-backed offensive in Raqqa, Syria, which was described by former prime minister David Cameron as “the head of the snake”.
Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think the threat is still increasing, partly driven by the fact Isis is collapsing in Syria and people are either unable to get out there to fight for Isis and so they look to do something at home, or also because people have come back and tried to inspire people with their stories and tales of the caliphate.
“I think those two things mean that the threat is to some extent increasing.”
Mr Wallace rejected suggestions that the Government’s voluntary anti-radicalisation programme, Prevent, could be made compulsory.
It comes after Simon Cole, the police lead for Prevent, said there needs to be a debate about introducing an element of compulsion for certain groups, such as returnees from Syria.
Responding, Mr Wallace said Prevent is under review all the time and revealed plans to release more information about its operations to boost public understanding.
But the Security Minister went on: “I’m not sure at the moment that compulsion is the right thing to do, I think the first thing to do is get everyone on board with it.
“That includes people like the NUT and all these people that have campaigned against it.
“There’s no ifs and buts nowadays, if we’re going to stop these people who use everyday items such as vehicles and kitchen knives to murder people on our streets, we are going to have to all engage together with Prevent and we are having real success when we do that.”
He added: “I think it’s time for all of us to put a shoulder to the wheel on Prevent and move it along.”