British ORT Business Breakfast 2007


09 March 2007 Former police chief at British ORT Business Breakfast One of Britains most experienced and respected figures in law enforcement, Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, has delivered a hard-hitting address on terrorism at the British ORT Annual Business Breakfast. Lord Stevens who capped 42 years in the police service with five years in the services top job, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police told the 300 businesspeople gathered at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London that Britain needed effective laws and a reassertion of Britishness while concluding that, in the end, it was communities that defeat terrorism. Lloyd Dorfman, Chairman of Travelex, the company he founded in 1976 and which is now the worlds largest non-bank foreign exchange business, hosted the event. He highlighted the importance of ORTs mission in todays world. ORT is a charity which, uniquely, does not give hand outs so much as leg ups; ensuring that opportunity is matched with ability. The old adage of Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for life is as relevant today as it was when ORT was founded in 1880. The difference is that instead of a fishing net, today its more the Internet. Introducing Lord Stevens, Mr Dorfman said the former police officer had shown incredible courage in life-threatening situations and outsmarted many a would-be criminal mastermind. In the current climate Im sure we can all appreciate the skill it must take to remain calm against a background of constant threat and the ability to inspire confidence in others in times of grave crisis. In his address, Lord Stevens said that while terrorist activities were being driven by the leadership of Al Qaeda, which had evolved from an organisation into a movement, there was an equal danger for all of us the enemy in our midst. There are radical groups in this country, some of which are organised, some of which are disorganised The home grown situation has escalated, he said. But he warned that great care had to be taken to ensure that any new anti-terror laws were balanced. If its seen in this country that were targeting one aspect of the community, were in trouble. We will only defeat this type of terrorism with the agreement and cooperation of the Muslim community, he said. Lord Stevens leads the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana, and has led similarly high-profile inquiries into the security forces in Northern Ireland and allegations of British football corruption. By the time he retired from the police service in 2005, he had been commended on 27 occasions for outstanding detective ability or courage. Until now there has not been a case of a kidnapping or assassination attempt, which Al Qaeda specialises in This is one thing that frightens me as much as anything else, he said. Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington addressing the British ORT Business Breakfast. Looking back at the start of the so-called War on Terror, following the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, Lord Stevens admitted that we were caught with our trousers down. In the years before 9/11, there had been a number of people from Britain who had travelled to Afghanistan and Bosnia to receive terrorist training and experience. What we face now is an enemy which is absolutely ruthless, he told the audience. Its an enemy that goes back into history, thats absolutely determined to take on Crusaders and Jews. Its an enemy that wont restrict its casualties. Its an enemy that actually points its direction towards civilian life in any country it decides to go. One of the primary aims of this enemy was to undermine the economic welfare of the Western world. They are patient, Lord Stevens said. They will wait and wait and plan and plan. Responding to a question from the audience, Lord Stevens also called for a reassertion of British values. I feel very proud of my background and history; I have nothing to be ashamed of, he said. I believe that Britishness and its values should be extended and I firmly believe that we now have to be proud of who we are and where we come from the sooner, the better. While the danger within has to be faced up to in a way that it hasnt in the past, Lord Stevens said his worry was tempered by optimism. They have made a fatal mistake in not assessing accurately what the strength in our system is, he said of terrorist groups. You in this room represent a British society that has a fantastic foundation. Were resilient. We have to ensure that we approach these things in partnership. To use a favourite phrase of mine, its communities that will defeat terrorism. Following the address, British ORT Chairman Alan Goldman paid tribute to the founder and Chairman of the Business Breakfast, British ORT Vice President Michael Naughton, who celebrated his 90th birthday in January. For nearly 50 years you have worked tirelessly for ORT and inspired many others along the way, Mr Goldman said. Thank you for what you have done and for everything I know you will continue to do. British ORT is the UK fundraising organisation affiliated to World ORT, the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training organisation, which has benefited some 3 million people Jewish and non-Jewish in 100 countries since it was founded in 1880.