Neil Hall | Reuters
Police officers cross Southwark Bridge after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017.
That could involve monitoring phone calls and internet activities as well as limiting individual movements. But the key concern is that greater government scrutiny could impinge on privacy rights and unfairly target ethnic minority groups through blanket restrictions. Increased surveillance could hit the U.K. budget given the amount of potentially radicalized people, Clarke warned.
Britain hasn’t taken too kindly to such regulations in the past. When former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s administration proposed holding terrorist suspects for 90 days without charge, parliament shot down the idea amid worries over the potential impact on habeas corpus.
“If May gets a good majority in the forthcoming election and if Brexit goes though, things will get tougher,” said John Browne, senior economic consultant at Euro Pacific Capital.
“May will tighten up severely,” he continued, noting the prospect of tighter immigration controls, deportation of known radicals as well as control orders such as tagging suspects.
Some experts maintain that reduced freedoms are necessary amid high-level security threats.
“If we have our freedoms curtailed because of terrorism, the terrorists have won anyways. But if terrorism is actually impacting our freedoms, we need to do something about it,” said Chris Hunter, a retired major of the British Armed Forces.
People are worried about their civil liberties and their data being monitored, but surveillance measures will only be focused on risky individuals, not normal people, Hunter claimed, adding that May’s counter-terror strategy was “bang on the money.”
“It’s the first time in the 25 years I’ve worked in counter-terrorism that I’ve heard one of our leaders be succinct about how we approach this.”