Bee stings killed as many in UK as terrorists, says watchdog

Bee stings kill as many people in Britain as terrorist attacks do, according to a report by a Government watchdog who claims the risk from extremists has fallen “markedly” in recent years.

David Anderson said that no one has even been injured by an Islamist in this country for more than two years, while the number of convictions has dropped to a “handful”.

As a result he suggested that ministers could relax some anti-terror laws without endangering public safety, such as by allowing terror suspects to apply for bail or making it harder to ban certain groups.

In his annual report, published on Wednesday, Mr Anderson wrote: “Whatever its cause, the reduction of risk in relation to al-Qaida terrorism in the United Kingdom is real and has been sustained for several years now.”

He said the situation has improved “markedly” since the middle of the last decade, when Britain suffered the atrocity of 7/7 as well as the failed 21/7 attacks and the foiled fertiliser bomb and airline liquid bomb plots.

The watchdog said no one has been injured by a terrorist in this country since May 2010 when the Labour MP Stephen Timms was stabbed in his constituency surgery by Roshonara Choudhry, while there was not a single al-Qaida attack in Europe throughout 2011.

Discussing the suggestions that the threat from terrorism is over-estimated, Mr Anderson wrote: “During the 21st century, terrorism has been an insignificant cause of mortality in the United Kingdom. The annualised average of five deaths caused by terrorism in England and Wales over this period compares with total accidental deaths in 2010 of 17,201, including 123 cyclists killed in traffic accidents, 102 personnel killed in Afghanistan, 29 people drowned in the bathtub and five killed by stings from hornets, wasps and bees.”

Mr Anderson also said it is hard to justify the total ban on terror suspects applying for bail, given that even subjects of deportation cases and alleged murders and rapists can do so.

In a strong criticism of Labour’s tough anti-terror laws, he said the wide power given to police to stop and search people and vehicles was the “single greatest focus of resentment among Muslims” and did not lead to a single conviction.

Daily Telegraph, 28 June 2012