Counter-terrorism – Government action
UK Government actions
- In April 2021, the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021 was passed. Among its provisions, the Act:
- introduces a new ‘serious terrorism sentence’ and provides for a minimum custodial term of 14 years, with early releases removed for serious terrorist offenders with an ‘extended determinate sentence’
- amends terrorism prevention and investigation measures (TPIMs), lowering the standard of proof and extending the maximum time limit from two to five years, and
- removes the time frame for completing the independent review of the Prevent programme.
- In March 2021, the UK Government introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, giving the police new powers to manage the risk posed by terrorist offenders and other offenders who pose a terrorist risk.
- In March 2021, the UK Government published a paper on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. This introduced the new Counter-Terrorism Operations Centre with its integrated counter-terrorism capabilities.
- In February 2021, the UK Government announced a statutory Review of the Closed Material Procedure in the Justice and Security Act 2013. The review’s findings are expected to be published in 2021.
- In December 2020, the Counter-Terrorism (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 came into force, replacing Part 1 of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010.
- In October 2020, the UK Government published its response to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation’s The Terrorism Acts in 2018 Report. The UK Government response committed the Home Office to a review of the detention process under Schedules 7 and 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000, following a recommendation from the Reviewer.
- In February 2020, the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act was passed. It ensures that terrorist offenders in Great Britain serving or sentenced to a ‘standard determinate sentence’ are not released before the end of their sentence without Parole Board agreement.
- In December 2019, the UK Government removed Alexander Carlile QC as the Independent Reviewer of Prevent, following the threat of a legal challenge over his appointment. The UK Government announced William Shawcross as the new Independent Reviewer in January 2021.
- In February 2019, the UK Government committed to undertaking an independent review of Prevent. The scope of the review considers the impact, delivery and efficacy of the Government’s strategy to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. The report and Government response are due by 31 December 2021.
- In February 2019, the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act was passed, amending the Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006. Among provisions with implications for human rights, the Act:
- expanded police powers to question and detain individuals who appear to be engaged in ‘hostile activity for or on behalf of another state’, without introducing a reasonable suspicion threshold
- extended the extraterritorial reach and penalty of certain offences under the Terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2006
- extended the Prevent duty to allow local authorities to refer people potentially vulnerable to radicalisation to a ‘Channel panel’ – a multi-agency process to identify and support individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism, and
- required an independent review of the Prevent programme to be established.
- In 2018, the UK Government introduced an updated Strategy for Countering Terrorism (CONTEST), committing to a £2 billion investment in the UK Special Forces and £1.4 billion in counter-terror capabilities for security and intelligence agencies.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on counter-terrorism.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 12/07/2021