Theresa May postpones terrorism policing review

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Theresa MayImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mrs May has shelved the plans until after the general election in May

Home Secretary Theresa May has abandoned plans to review the structure of counter-terrorism policing, because of the increased security threat level.

Mrs May had wanted to explore whether responsibility for dealing with terrorism should be transferred to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Switching counter-terrorism policing to the new body was recommended by the Home Affairs Committee.

But the plans have been shelved until after the general election.

The decision will come as a relief to senior police officers who were thought to be against the move, BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said.

The threat level was raised to "severe" in August in response to events in Iraq and Syria.

The NCA, which was set up a year ago, already has sweeping powers to direct police forces to conduct investigations into serious and organised crime.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
MPs have recommended the NCA is given control of counter-terrorism policing

The UK's Counter-Terrorism Command currently sits within the Metropolitan Police, with the force working with both the security and intelligence agencies as well as regional police units.

But in a report earlier this year, the Home Affairs Committee said the Metropolitan Police was struggling after a series of "difficulties".

However, its proposed review will now not happen before May.

In a statement, the Home Office said: "The Home Office is committed to exploring the possibility of enhancing these capabilities in the longer term. And improving collaboration between police and agencies working on counter-terrorism and organised crime remains a high priority.

"But in light of the recent increase in the terrorist threat level we can confirm there will be no review of counter-terrorism policing during this Parliament."