Last week in Westminster we saw our emergency services at their very best. Their response to the terror attack was exceptional in both its speed and its professionalism.
Tragically, they lost one of their own.
PC Keith Palmer was murdered doing his job – holding the line against those who seek to harm us, divide us and damage our way of life. It is a job our police and security services perform every hour of every day with fantastic dedication and ability. It is a job for which they make sacrifices, and these are sacrifices we must never forget.
The deaths of PC Palmer, Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran and Leslie Rhodes have focused us on our common values, shared bonds, and our resolve that these will not be broken by acts of anger and senseless violence.
However, we have to be aware of where we must do more to protect against this aggression, and to tackle the poisonous ideas which can take root amongst the vulnerable in our society and fester into the rage, hatred and violence we saw last week.
That is why we are reinforcing our police with a budget uplift of 30% for counter-terrorism policing and £144 million over the next five years to increase the number of armed police officers by more than 1,000. We are also investing in our world-class intelligence and security services. Over the next five years, we will recruit over 1,900 additional staff at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
But we need to make sure that our response keeps pace with changes in technology. This is why I have called on Google, Twitter and Facebook to do more to prevent their sites being used so easily by extremists to spread their twisted ideologies and to incite violence. We need these companies to take a leading role and proactively take down propaganda and extremist videos.
We must also improve awareness of the risks technology brings. In East Sussex, around 87% of people are active internet users. The internet is an immeasurably valuable resource for everyday tasks such as shopping, banking and paying bills, for keeping in touch with family and friends, and for learning. However, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that young people know how to use the internet responsibly. This is why, last month, I was pleased to attend an assembly on internet safety at Christ Church Primary School in St Leonards.
Our approach to the threats we face must be comprehensive, well-targeted and proportionate. We must do all we can to counter the threat of a future attack whilst also challenging the extremist ideologies which drive this violence. However, we must also ensure that, no matter what threats we face, we remain united as a society, committed to our values, and determined to live our everyday lives without fear.