Counter terrorism review set to be published

The government is set to publish its long-awaited proposed reforms to counter terrorism powers.The review is expected to propose replacing control orders with a series of measures to monitor suspects.Counter terrorism-related stop and search powers are also likely to be restricted.The publication of the review, due on Wednesday, has been repeatedly delayed as coalition ministers have struggled to agree on the changes.The Home Office launched the review in July 2010, saying it would be rapid and would be aimed at reconciling counter terrorism powers with civil liberties.The parties agreed to scrap the power of police to hold a suspect without charge for 28 days – and the time limit has now reverted to the original 14 days, after ministers decided not to renew the legislation this month.There are also expected to be changes to counter terrorism stop and searches, by only permitting their use in narrow and specific circumstances, such as during the 2012 London Olympic Games.However, the coalition has struggled to reach a deal on the future of control orders – the controversial powers to restrict the movement of a small number of suspects who the government says cannot be prosecuted or deported where they are foreign nationals. Security chiefs say the power is an essential tool in cases where there is intelligence that someone is involved in extremism but has not yet committed a crime, such as someone associating with known plotters.The coalition ministers appear to have reached a deal to scrap control orders – but leaks in recent weeks have led critics to say the new system is little more than “control orders lite”.The new restrictions are expected to include electronic tagging, a ban on overseas travel and visits to specific places or people.The current regime of curfews of up to 16 hours is expected to be replaced by a more limited overnight home residency requirement.Other control order restrictions expected to be ditched, include the power to move a suspect away from their home town.

The government is expected to say the changes will strike the right balance between security and liberties by being specific and proportionate to the threat.It is unclear whether the package will be approved by Lord Macdonald QC, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, who has been overseeing the government’s review.Writing in the London Evening Standard ahead of the review’s publication, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper indicated the opposition could support measures that it believed were in the national interest rather than coalition politics.”This review should be a chance for the home secretary to lead a serious debate and build a new consensus,” she said.”We must update policies and powers in response to ever-changing threats, looking too at new risks, prevention of radicalisation, handling intelligence and the framework of accountability.” – BBC