Leading Article: There Is No Cause for Panic over Our Security Precautions

Article excerpt

BRITAIN IS not equipped to defend itself against an 11 September- style attack, says the Commons Defence Committee. The Government believes the balance of its security structures are right, replied Tony Blair in Prime Minister's Questions yesterday.

Normally that would be enough to have us all fleeing to the bomb shelters, on the simple principle that whenever a minister expresses him or herself satisfied with safety, you know the worst is going to happen.

And, indeed, the Defence Committee does make some worrying points about the lack of co-ordination and full revision of procedures since 11 September. The awful lessons of the poor communications between police and fire departments in New York in the immediate aftermath of the attack should be written on the heart of every public service across the Atlantic.

But to suggest, as the committee does, that we need a whole raft of new laws and a "strong central authority" headed by a cabinet minister to co-ordinate the work of various departments is to get carried away with the drama of September. …