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The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill was introduced on 23 May 2011. It would abolish the current control order regime, commenced under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, and replace it with new Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (referred to throughout as TPIMs). The Bill had its Second Reading on 7 June. It had 10 sittings in Public Bill Committee, beginning on 21 June 2011 and ending on 5 July 2011. Report Stage and Third Reading are scheduled for 5 September 2011.

At Second Reading, debate ranged widely, encompassing civil liberties concerns, security considerations and the utility of the measures being introduced. In Committee, however, much of the focus was on whether requirements placed on suspects were sufficiently stringent to guarantee public protection. The Opposition Members expressed concerns about the effect of ending Ministerial discretion in a number of areas. The debate was concentrated on issues such as the ability of the authorities to geographically relocate terror suspects; the definition of overnight residence requirements (and how they differed from curfews imposed under the control order regime); the ability of suspects to access mobile telephones and computers; the absolute two year limit for TPIMs notices (in the absence of new terrorism-related activity); and, methods to review the operation of the legislation. There was also considerable debate about resources that would be made available to the police and security and intelligence services to enable increased surveillance of terror suspects.

Some disquiet was expressed at the absence of a sunset clause or other method of annual renewal. In the event, only a small series of Government amendments, which were mostly described as drafting or technical amendments were made in Committee. Some of the most significant amendments related to the provisions on territorial extent, insofar as certain provisions that related to devolved matters (such as powers of entry, search and seizure and retention of fingerprints and samples, contained in Schedules 5 and 6) were extended to Scotland following the agreement of the Scottish Government.

A reference to the Channel Islands was removed from the legislation, after they indicated that they would wish to produce any required legislation themselves, rather than having the Act extended to them by Order in Council.

Substantive amendments were also made to Clause 26 (which relates to the offences which could be committed under the provisions of the Act). The Minister noted that this was to cure a possible ambiguity in the legislation.

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