The Bill has seven parts, designed to reduce the terrorism threat to the UK. It would strengthen powers to put temporary restrictions on travel and modify the Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures. It would extend the retention of relevant communications data, strengthen security for travel arrangements and make the existing Prevent programme statutory as well as address the payment of insurance for ransoms.

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There has been mounting concern about the threat that terrorism presents to the United Kingdom. The Government has indicated intentions to legislate since the summer and a Bill was introduced into the Commons on 26 November 2014.

On 29 August 2014, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) raised the UK national terrorist threat level from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE. According to the Explanatory Notes to the Bill, approximately 500 individuals of interest to the police and security services have travelled from the UK to Syria and the region since the start of the conflict. On 1 September 2014, the Prime Minister announced plans to remove passports from people travelling overseas to fight for terrorist organisations or engage in terrorism-related activity and subsequently returning to the UK. The provisions in the Bill differ from the September announcement and the overall package in the Bill is more extensive.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 2014-15 has seven parts:

• Part 1 would introduce two new powers to place temporary restrictions on travel, including the seizure of passports and new Temporary Exclusion Orders;

• Part 2 would amend the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, to introduce relocation into the TPIM system and a tighter test on their use;

• Part 3 would amend the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 to enable the Secretary of State to require internet providers to retain data allowing the authorities to identify the person or device using a particular IP address at any given time.

• Part 4 would allow the Secretary of State to introduce authority to carry schemes for aircraft, shipping and rail which would replace the current inbound arrangements with broader inbound and outbound arrangements;

• Part 5 would in effect put the Prevent strategy on a statutory footing, by placing a duty on specified authorities to have due regard, when exercising their functions, to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

• Part 6 would amend Sections 15 to 18 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (which criminalise instances of terrorist financing) to make clear that insurers may not reimburse ransom payments made to terrorists;

• Part 7 would create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. It would also amend the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 so that appeals on refusal of naturalisation in certain circumstances would lie to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).

There has been differing reactions to the detailed elements of the Bill. Civil liberties and human rights concerns have focused on the proposed Temporary Exclusion Order and the reintroduction of relocation to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs). The Opposition are broadly in support of the package of measures.

  • Commons Research Briefing RP14-63
  • Authors: Melanie Gower, Oonagh Gay, Philip Ward, Sally Lipscombe
  • Topics: Crime, Immigration, Security

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