MPs put shopping centres on alert against threat from terrorists

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EVERY shopping centre in the UK should be ready to respond to a terror attack, according to a new report.

MPs have made the recommendation following the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last year which left 67 people dead.

In a report published today, the Home Affairs Committee also calls for major changes in the way the UK’s intelligence agencies are held to account.

The way MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are monitored came into question in the wake of revelations by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Alluding to John Le Carre’s fictional Cold War spy George Smiley, committee chairman Keith Vaz MP said: “The current system of oversight is designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley not the 21st century reality of the security and intelligence services.

“The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny.

“It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in Parliament.

The committee also calls for responsibility for combatting terrorism to be shifted from the Metropolitan Police to the National Crime Agency.

Such a shift would have implications for officers working in West Yorkshire which hosts one of the four counter-terrorism units outside London. MPs recommended moves to hand over counter terrorism to the NCA should begin immediately.