UK may face Islamist threat for decades, former MI5 chief warns

The UK may continue to face the threat of Islamist terrorism for another ’20 to 30 years’, the former head of MI5 has told the BBC.

Lord Evans told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the issue was a ‘generational problem’ and that the UK needed to ‘persevere’ with efforts to defeat it.

He also advised the devices connected to the internet are made more secure in the face of emerging cyber threats, and warned that Russia was likely to attempt to interfere in the UK’s democracy.

Lord Evans said: “There's no doubt that we are still facing a severe terrorist threat but I think its also important to put this in a slightly longer context because right the way back from the 1990s we have been experiencing difficulties from Islamist terrorists of one sort or another.

"Over that period the threat has come and gone but the underlying threat has continued.

"Since 2013 there have been 19 attempted attacks that have been disrupted and even since the attack at Westminster we are told there have been six disruptions, so this is a permanent state of preparedness.

“We're at least 20 years into this. My guess is that we will still be dealing with the long tail in over 20 years' time.

"I think this is genuinely a generational problem. I think we are going to be facing 20 to 30 years of terrorist threat and therefore we need, absolutely critically, to persevere."

Lord Evans stepped down as the director general of the security service MI5 in 2013.

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