A Civil Liberties Posture Too Far
David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, agrees with Labour that the Government has weakened control orders too far. His latest report, published this morning, says Theresa May, the Home Secretary, should tighten up the rules for Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs), notably by restoring the power to relocate suspects (page 4):
Two significant changes are needed if TPIMs are to remain fully credible, and if they are to perform more than just a containing function.
• First, locational constraints on some TPIM subjects should be stronger than
has been the case, in order more effectively to disrupt networks and deter or
prevent absconds. Options include:
clarifying or extending the possibilities for imposing exclusion zones
on TPIM subjects; and/or
restoring the power to relocate subjects to an area some two or three
hours’ travel from their homes, though with a significantly wider area
for unrestricted travel than was the case under control orders.
• Secondly, there should be a power to require subjects to attend meetings,
under the auspices of the National Probation Service. The contact
opportunities provided by a TPIM notice should not be wasted, and need to
be part of a positive strategy of engagement from the outset.
This is one of the most shocking examples of where both coalition parties, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, postured in haste about civil liberties in opposition only to repent at leisure in government. Stupid rhetoric attacking New Labour for being “authoritarian” has put us at risk, and now the civil libertarian “independent” reviewer agrees.Tagged in: civil liberties, control orders, tpims
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