UK’s review of counter-terrorism and security powers

The redacted review considered six key counter-terrorism and security powers:
  • The detention of terrorist suspects before charge, including how we can reduce the period of detention below 28 days
  • Section 44 stop and search powers and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography
  • The use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities and access to communications data more generally
  • Measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred or violence
  • Extending the use of ‘Deportation with Assurances’ in a manner that is consistent with our legal and human rights obligations
  • Control orders (including alternatives)

The review found that in some areas the UK’s counter-terrorism and security powers were “neither proportionate nor necessary”. It proposed:

  • A return to 14 days as the standard maximum period that a terrorist suspect can be detained before they are charged or released
  • An end to the indiscriminate use of terrorism stop and search powers provided under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000
  • The end to the use of the most intrusive RIPA powers by local authorities to investigate low level offences and a requirement that applications by local authorities to use any RIPA techniques are approved by a magistrate
  • A commitment to rationalise the legal bases by which communications data can be acquired and, as far as possible, to limit that to RIPA
  • A stronger effort to deport foreign nationals involved in terrorist activities in this country fully respecting our human rights obligations
  • The end of control orders and their replacement with a less intrusive and more focused regime. Additional resources will be provided to the police and security agencies to ensure the new measures are effective not only in protecting the public but in facilitating prosecution

A new version of the Government’s counter terrorist strategy, CONTEST, will be published within a few months.

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