More details published of Government’s review of anti-terrorism powers

A Home Office news release tells us:

The Home Secretary has announced today that a rapid review of key counter-terrorism and security powers is underway. The review will look at what counter-terrorism powers and measures could be rolled back in order to restore the balance of civil liberties and counter-terrorism powers…

The review will look at six areas:

• the use of control orders;

• stop and search powers in section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography;

• the detention of terrorist suspects before charge;

• extending the use of deportations with assurances to remove foreign nationals from the UK who pose a threat to national security;

• measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred or violence; and

• the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities, and access to communications data more generally.

Lord Ken Macdonald QC will provide independent oversight of the review. He will ensure it is properly conducted, that all the relevant options have been considered and that the recommendations are balanced.

The Home Secretary will report back on the findings of the review in the autumn.

The six areas up for review were heavily trailed by the coalition agreement and so are welcome, but unsurprising, news. The bonus is the role of Ken Macdonald, recently appointed a Liberal Democrat peer, and a consistent voice of sanity from the coalface of fighting terrorism during his time as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Tom Brake, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs, has reacted saying,

Under the Labour Government, hard won rights and liberties that have been a fundamental part of British life for centuries were eroded or simply cast aside.

The Liberal Democrats have campaigned for years to give citizens back their freedoms, including scrapping control orders and reducing detention without charge. This review will be a big step towards realising these aims and making Britain a fairer country.

The Government’s first duty is to protect its citizens. I have no doubt this review will ensure public safety is balanced with the rights of the British people.

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