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News 2008
News ->Britain introduces new Counter Terrorism Bill

(24 January 2008)

Jacqui SmithTough new measures to protect the public from terrorism were introduced today as the Britain published its Counter Terrorism Bill 2008. The UK Government has already allocated £45m for over 70 local authorities over the next three years to fund projects to tackle violent extremism, working with local partners to identify over 200 local projects that have established best practice. Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said: "The Government's first priority is to protect our citizens. We are facing an unprecedented threat from terrorism in this country and are determined to take whatever action is necessary to protect the public from future attacks."

The Counter Terrorism Bill 2008 includes proposals to:

* Provide a power to increase the time terror suspects can be held before charge in future if exceptional circumstances require it;

* Enable post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects;

* Enhance sentences for terrorism-motivated general offences;

* Strengthen the monitoring arrangements for convicted terrorists and prevent them from foreign travel where necessary; and

* Ensure full use can be made of DNA in terrorism investigations.

Jacqui Smith added: "Today's Bill is one part of a much wider package of work we are doing on counter terrorism more generally and builds on our cross-Government strategy to prevent people becoming terrorists in the first place by challenging extremist ideology and by supporting communities in rooting out its influence."

"Countering terrorism and violent extremism is one of the most important and urgent priorities for the police service, which is why we have provided record levels of funding for counter terrorism policing. In 2007-08 the police received £472 million in specifically targeted grants. In October we announced an additional £695 million for security and counter terrorism as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. As a result of this, funding for police counter terrorism will be increased to £524 million in 2008-09, £552 million in 2009-10 and £579 million in 2010-11.

The police service is working closely with the Home Office to ensure that these significant additional resources address the priorities for counter terrorism policing across the country."

Proposals being currently considered include:

* the establishment of a significantly reinforced Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Unit based in the South of England;

* significant reinforcement of the counter terrorist capability of the Metropolitan police;

* an increase in police resources dedicated to the prevent people becoming or supporting violent extremists. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is currently preparing detailed proposals in this area. Options are likely to include local Policing Teams connected to established regional Counter-Terrorism Units.

The 'Prevent' policing proposals currently being developed will build on other initiatives successfully developed by police in recent years - neighbourhood policing, support programmes for drugs offenders, outreach to improve community cohesion and local partnerships to deal with arrange of criminal activity.


Commenting on Jacqui Smith’s announcement that the Government is to target websites promoting extremism, Baroness Neville-Jones, the Shadow Security Minister, said: “We welcome the Home Secretary’s comments which are a positive step in the fight against extremism.

“However, the announcement has come much too late. The Government started talking about tackling radicalisation as far back as 2003, but since then we have had the 7/7 terrorist attacks and as far back as 2004 the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit said that ‘Forward planning is disjointed or has yet to occur’. Why has it taken so long for the Government to organise its response to this serious issue?

“The Government should also have kept its promise to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir. Gateway organisations draw the young and vulnerable into extremism. It is no use just targeting websites when such groups are free to undermine British society and values.

“Part of the problem stems from the Government’s failed long term strategy of multiculturalism. A new approach, based on creating an integrated and cohesive society, is clearly necessary.”

She added: “The Government should also realise that the only thing they have been pre-occupied with – extending pre-charge detention – actually risks radicalising young Muslims and serving as a recruiting sergeant for terrorists."

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