News story

Government publishes Strategic Defence and Security Review

The government today (Monday 23 November) published its five-year plan to combat the national security threats facing the UK and its interests overseas.

The National Security Strategy (NSS) and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) set out priorities over the course of this Parliament, including major investment in tackling terrorism and cyber-crime.

The SDSR confirms the government will legislate in 2016 to consolidate the powers the police and security services require to keep us safe - with unprecedented transparency, robust safeguards and world-leading oversight – and to ensure the law keeps pace as communications technology develops.

And we will implement our new Counter-Extremism Strategy, promoting the values which unite us as we counter extremist ideologies and disrupt extremists, while building partnerships with all those opposed to extremism and establishing more cohesive communities.

The SDSR outlines how we will strengthen our ability to detect the movements of people and goods that present a threat, using technology and better data on land, sea and air passengers and cargo, in conjunction with intelligence and targeting.

The review establishes that we will modernise and introduce more automation so we can deploy our border officials where they are needed most, including an enhanced presence at our sea ports. And we will work with international partners to invest in new technology, ensuring the radiological and nuclear detection systems at the UK border remain among the best in the world.

We will redouble our efforts to choke off the supply of illegal firearms to prevent their use by criminal or terrorist groups in the UK. We will continue to invest to ensure that we have the right intelligence, detection and enforcement capabilities and policies, internationally, at the UK border and within the country. And we will press for stronger EU-wide action to tackle the illegal possession and trafficking of firearms, to set more stringent standards for deactivation, and to encourage greater information sharing.

We will also introduce new measures to make the UK a more hostile place for those seeking to move, hide or use the proceeds of crime and corruption and evade sanctions. We will strengthen our approach to tackling online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

And we will ensure we have the right capabilities, and a comprehensive action plan, to better identify, disrupt and dismantle the networks involved in modern slavery and immigration crime.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

The first duty of any government is the safety and security of British people at home and abroad.

The events of the past few weeks and months emphasise the hugely complex and challenging nature of the threats we face. Terrorists and serious organised criminals are communicating across continents; smuggling people, weapons and drugs over borders; and harming people around the globe.

Our Strategic Defence and Security Review is a coordinated, considered and comprehensive response to these threats – both on and offline.

We will promote the values which unite us and counter the twisted narrative of extremism. We will boost the capacity of our police and security services to detect and disrupt those who seek to do us harm. We will strengthen border security and key infrastructure to protect our interests at home and abroad. And we will constantly review our contingency plans to ensure we are prepared for any event.

The SDSR also pledges to increase cross-government spending on counter-terrorism by 30% in real terms over the course of this Parliament.

Other commitments include:

  • 1,900 extra security and intelligence staff at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ
  • funding for aviation security around the world to double to more than £18 million a year
  • cyber security spending to reach £1.9 billion a year by 2020, with a new National Cyber Centre at the heart of plans to make Britain the best protected country in cyber space