“joint working between the police and MI5 has become recognised as a beacon of good practice..”

As reported here, in his ‘unusual’ speech as the new head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, revealed that the new MI5 regional Headquarters in Northern Ireland will soon be officially opened by the Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward [no doubt the First and deputy First Ministers will be invited along too.. – Ed]. The full speech can be read here – and below the fold is the paragraph which includes the title quote.

On a different note, this autumn saw an important day for my Service. On the 10th October, we took on the lead responsibility from the Police Service of Northern Ireland for national security work there. And I am pleased to confirm today that our new Northern Ireland headquarters will soon be opened by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. This new building is a regional headquarters concerned with the broad spectrum of MI5’s work. So although we will continue to investigate national security threats to Northern Ireland from there, the capabilities will also provide us with greater capacity in our overall work across the UK. Our Northern Ireland headquarters is now an important part of my Service’s UK counter terrorism network.

There’s also an interesting paragraph later in the speech

More than ever before, we work on an integrated basis with our sister agencies, GCHQ and SIS, so that the particular skills of each agency are focused on the same threat. Their assistance and the intelligence they have provided to us have been invaluable to our operations, giving us coverage beyond our traditional strengths.

The same applies increasingly with the police. Speaking earlier this year, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:

“the most important change in counter terrorism in the UK in recent years has been the development of the relationship between the police and the Security Service.. it is no exaggeration to say that joint working between the police and MI5 has become recognised as a beacon of good practice.”

It is the vision and leadership of senior police officers like DAC Clarke that gives me confidence that this relationship will continue to flourish.