All 5 Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay contributions to the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21

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Mon 21st Sep 2020
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2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading
Tue 26th Jan 2021
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Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage
Tue 9th Feb 2021
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Wed 3rd Mar 2021
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Report stage & Lords Hansard & Report stage
Thu 25th Mar 2021
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Consideration of Commons amendments & Consideration of Commons amendments

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 21st September 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Williams of Trafford, I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time. No Government could be glad at putting a further counterterrorism Bill before your Lordships’ House, but sadly it is born of necessity.

The Bill was originally conceived in response to the appalling attack that took place in Fishmongers’ Hall in November 2019. Sadly, during its development, in February 2020 a further terrorist attack was carried out in Streatham. Both attacks were perpetrated by offenders who had been automatically released half way through their sentence. There was no possibility of keeping them in prison beyond that point under the law at the time.

The Government took immediate action to redress that error by introducing emergency legislation, the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020. We were grateful to noble Lords for the detailed and constructive debates on that Bill, which enabled us to halt the imminent automatic release of further terrorist offenders and ensure that they will be referred to the Parole Board before they can be considered for early release from their custodial sentence. Those debates and the swift passage of that Bill were a demonstration of the strength of our Parliament, in times of great need, to ensure that the right laws are in place to protect the public. Those shocking attacks underlined the need for the Government to do all that we can to offer greater protection to the public and justice for the victims of terrorism. Despite the ongoing and determined efforts of our security services, the threat of terrorism sadly remains; indeed, it is ever evolving.

This Bill will therefore strengthen not only the sentencing framework for terrorist offenders, but also the tools that enable our public services better to monitor and disrupt convicted terrorists and those who are of terrorism concern. Those who commit serious acts of terror must face sentences which match the severity of their crimes. Part 1 of the Bill sets out reforms which will introduce a new range of sentences—and improvements to existing sentences—which properly reflect the harm such crimes cause.

The first of these changes is the introduction of the serious terrorism sentence. This mandates a minimum custodial period of 14 years and a licence period of seven to 25 years for those who commit serious terrorist acts which put the lives of members of the public at risk. Where such offenders do not receive a life sentence, the serious terrorism sentence will provide for a minimum of 14 years in custody. The Bill will also make changes to the sentences of offenders assessed as dangerous by the court, and who could have received a life sentence for their offending, but instead received an extended determinate sentence. The Bill recognises these offences as sufficiently serious that there should be no prospect of early release from their custodial sentence. Further to this, for this cohort the courts will be empowered to apply licence periods of up to 10 years. I will say more on those licence conditions shortly.

We also propose to increase the maximum sentence given to those found to be members of, or providing support to, proscribed organisations, or those who attend a place used for terrorism training, from 10 to 14 years. These changes are made following the sentencing review announced by my right honourable and learned friend the Lord Chancellor in February.

This review also informed amendments to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which are also supported by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC. These amendments will enable the courts to find any offence with a maximum penalty of more than two years to have a terrorist connection, which will lead to an aggravation of that sentence. It will also ensure that these offenders are subject to the registered terrorist offender notification requirements following their release from prison.

These measures clearly demonstrate the seriousness with which the Government view this type of offending. They also ensure that there is additional time for the authorities to support reform of such dangerous behaviour, improving our ability to rehabilitate offenders motivated by warped and abhorrent ideologies.

Noble Lords will appreciate how the recent terrorist attacks demonstrated the vital role played by those who monitor and manage the risk presented by terrorism in our communities, be they the police, the probation service or the security services. The Government know that time spent on licence is a crucial opportunity both to monitor and manage offenders in the community and to support their rehabilitation so that there can be long-lasting changes to their behaviour.

In recognition of the significance of this opportunity, we are adding all terrorism offences with a maximum penalty of over two years to the sentence for offenders of particular concern regime, with equivalent provision in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This will guarantee that any offender convicted of a terrorism offence covered by the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act will no longer be eligible for a standard determinate sentence and, instead, will receive a sentence for offenders of particular concern, ensuring a mandatory period of at least one year on licence.

The Bill also introduces a range of measures that will support the effective and efficient risk management of terrorist offenders. It will make available the use of polygraph testing when terrorist offenders are released on licence—as a condition of their licence— where necessary and proportionate to managing their risk. This is an approach similar to the already successfully adopted practice used for the monitoring of sex offenders in the community in England and Wales.

Debate in another place aired concern over this provision, so I assure noble Lords that this measure has all the relevant safeguards within its design. A failed test—that is, physiological reactions which indicate dishonesty—will never be sufficient to recall an offender to custody, nor will information gained during a test be used in a criminal proceeding against the examined offender. The measure will, however, provide critical “information gain”, which will support offender managers in their essential role, allowing them to tailor and refine risk-management plans to the benefit of wider society.

The Bill also makes a number of changes to the disruption and risk-management tools available to our operational partners. We are lowering the standard of proof for imposing a terrorism prevention and investigation measure, or TPIM, notice from the “balance of probabilities” to “reasonable grounds for suspecting” that an individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity. Lowering the standard of proof increases the flexibility of TPIMs as a tool for public protection, supporting their use in a wider variety of circumstances.

The Bill also specifies new measures which can be applied to TPIM subjects and removes the current two-year limit for which a TPIM notice can last. Instead, a TPIM will last for one year at a time but will be capable of repeated renewal. A TPIM will be renewed only when it is necessary and proportionate to do so. Should that justification cease, the TPIM will not be renewed.

Although it is important that we make these changes to support our operational partners, it is also important to be clear that TPIMs will remain a tool of last resort to protect the public from dangerous individuals whom it is not possible to prosecute or deport, or individuals who remain a real threat after being released from prison.

A further preventive measure that we are taking is to amend legislation governing serious crime prevention orders by allowing the police to apply for one directly to the High Court in terrorism cases. This will streamline the application process and is intended to support an increased use of these orders in such instances.

We are also adding the offences of breaching a TPIM notice and breaching a temporary exclusion order to the list of relevant terrorism offences which can trigger the registered terrorist offender notification requirements. This will help to close current gaps in our ability to manage terrorist offenders following their release from prison and any risk they pose.

The combined impact of these changes will strengthen our ability to manage the risk posed by people of terrorism concern in the community, including those released from prison without a period on licence.

The Bill also makes some changes to the way we deal with young terrorist offenders under the age of 18. We recognise that there is a separate sentencing framework for that category of offender, with distinct purposes and aims, which, quite rightly, differ from those for adults. Although we accept that there are important considerations of age and maturity to take into account—and we remain firm in our ambition to ensure that custody is used only where necessary—some young people are susceptible to radicalisation or to adopting extremist views and, among them, a few will unfortunately pose a very serious threat to the public. After due care and consideration, we have decided to apply some of the measures in the Bill to those aged under 18 in cases where it is imperative that we address the risk to the public posed by serious terrorist offenders. In that regard, we believe that the extended determinate sentence provisions strike a balance between mitigating the threat posed by terrorist offenders assessed as dangerous by the courts and the need to consider the welfare of younger offenders.

The Bill will also ensure that the courts have the right range of options at their disposal to deal with those under the age of 18 who commit serious terrorist or terrorism-related offences by introducing a new sentence of detention for terrorist offenders of particular concern. This new sentence will ensure that those offenders are subject to a fixed, one-year period on licence once released, the aim of which is to support their reintegration into the community and to safeguard the public.

A major component of our strategy for dealing with terrorism is Prevent, which aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism through terrorist-related activities. The independent review of Prevent will deliver on the Government’s commitment set out in the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 and will critically examine and report on the Government’s strategy for safeguarding those susceptible to extreme ideology.

Following the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, stepping down, the process of appointing the next independent reviewer is under way by means of a full and open competition. To give the new reviewer the time necessary to carry out this important review, the Bill will remove the statutory deadline for the completion of the review. The aim is that it will have concluded, with a government response, by August 2021. However, given the ongoing uncertainty in light of the effect that Covid-19 is having on society, I hope that noble Lords will appreciate why a statutory deadline is no longer appropriate.

The threat posed by terrorism is one faced by every jurisdiction of this nation, and Her Majesty’s Government have a responsibility to protect all the people of the United Kingdom, wherever they may reside. To this end, we have set out to ensure that the provisions in the Bill will equally take effect in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. This includes the full application of the measures set out in the terrorist offenders Act to Northern Ireland.

We know that terrorism constantly morphs and adapts to circumvent measures put in place to counter it, so we must be equally flexible and refresh these critical laws to stay ahead of the threat it poses. The package of measures in the Bill aims to do just that by strengthening our hand at each stage of the process of dealing with terrorist offenders. From sentencing through to release and monitoring of these offenders, this legislation reaffirms our determination to ensure that the public are protected and, importantly, to give them confidence in that protection.

I am pleased that there can be rather more time to debate and scrutinise the Bill than was possible with the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act, and we look forward to the maiden speeches of my noble friend Lord Vaizey of Didcot and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester as part of that, but I hope that that can be accompanied by the same sense of resolve and common purpose as your Lordships’ House demonstrated during the passage of that earlier legislation. I beg to move.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 26th January 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, for reminding the Committee of the two terrorist offences at Fishmongers’ Hall and at Streatham, which formed the backdrop to this Bill. They were rightly mentioned at Second Reading; it is correct that we have them in our minds as we embark on Committee today.

Clause 1 addresses a limitation in the existing legislation to ensure that no terrorist-related offenders fall through the cracks. As the noble Lord, Lord Marks, set out, at present the courts are expressly required to consider whether there is a terrorist connection at the point of sentencing only in relation to a defined list of non-terrorism offences set out in Schedule 1 to the Sentencing Code for England and Wales and Schedule 2 to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Clause 1 removes this defined list of non-terrorism offences from Schedule 1 to the Sentencing Code and Schedule 2 to the 2008 Act. This is an important step, though not quite as radical as the noble Lord, Lord Marks, suggests. It will expressly require the courts, in cases where it appears that any non-terrorism offence with a maximum penalty of more than two years was committed in the course of an act of terrorism or for the purposes of terrorism, actively to consider whether the offence was committed with a terrorist connection and should be aggravated as such. Closing this loophole provides a necessary flexibility in the legislation, reflecting the fact that terrorist offending takes a wide variety of forms.

On Second Reading we noted that, sadly, the terrorist threat is constantly evolving; offenders prove themselves rather inventive, alas, and it is right that the legislation keeps pace. I am glad for my noble friend Lord Naseby’s support, who sadly spoke with personal experience. I also welcome the support of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, for this important step in expanding the list of offences.

This clause also ensures that the consequences of a terrorist connection are applied consistently to all offenders. The identification of a terrorist connection by the courts has a wide-ranging impact. First, it must be treated as an aggravating factor when sentencing. This will help ensure that terrorist offenders receive punishment befitting the severity of their offending and the risk they pose to public safety. Secondly, the change will also result in the offenders being subject to the registered terrorist offender notification requirements following their release from prison, meaning that they are required to notify specified information to the police. That information supports the police to manage an offender’s risk on release much more effectively. Thirdly, once the Bill receives Royal Assent—as we hope it will—offenders convicted with a terrorist connection will be subject to a minimum of 12 months on licence following their release and will be eligible to have certain licence conditions imposed on them to assist in the effective management of their risk, for instance polygraph testing.

It might help the Committee if I offer a hypothetical example to demonstrate how this change will work in practice, as noble Lords asked for. Today, someone convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life would not be guaranteed to have their sentence aggravated, even where the court has identified a terrorist connection. They would also not be subject to the restriction on early release provisions or the registered terrorist offender notification requirements upon release. That is because this offence is not listed in Schedule 1 to the Sentencing Code or Schedule 2 to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. Clause 1 will address this inconsistency in the current legislation by requiring the court to consider whether there is a terrorist connection and treat it as an aggravating factor if such a finding is made. It will also ensure that appropriate risk management tools, such as the notification requirements, apply following the offender’s release from prison.

I emphasise that, as is the case currently, courts will be required to apply the criminal standard of proof—that is, beyond reasonable doubt—when determining a terrorist connection at the point of sentencing. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asked about this. Judges routinely have to consider whether offences which they are sentencing have been committed with aggravating factors and, in doing so, they apply the criminal standard of proof and must be satisfied that they are made out beyond reasonable doubt. I hope that addresses the question that he and others raised about the process.

It is also important that the Committee notes what the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation said in public about the Bill and these provisions, including during the oral evidence that he provided to the Public Bill Committee in another place. Asked by my honourable friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales which provision in the Bill, in his professional view, would have the biggest effect on making our citizens safer, he said that it was this one:

“That is a really welcome change, which makes people safer.”—[Official Report, Commons, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Committee, 25/6/20; col. 16.]


The Bill contains a comprehensive package of measures, of which this change is an important part. It will help to establish confidence in the sentencing framework by ensuring that those who commit terrorist-related crimes receive punishments commensurate with those crimes, spend longer in custody and are subject to appropriate risk management processes following their release.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Portrait Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I should have opened my earlier speech by welcoming the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, to his position and to the House. He has been extremely helpful to me in relation to the Domestic Abuse Bill and its provisions and I have seen him virtually on a number of occasions, so I have not completely appreciated that this is the first time that we have been together on a Bill. I also thank all noble Lords who have spoken and in particular the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, for his response.

I listened carefully to all that the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, said. Of course we all, throughout the House, deplore terrorism and agree that it is crucial that we make our country safe from terrorism and treat terrorist offences with extreme severity. The point that I made, echoed by my noble friend Lord Thomas and, to a certain extent, by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, is that, in the effort to set up that severe framework, we must not abandon important principles of English criminal justice.

The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, has not answered the point made by me and by my noble friend Lord Thomas and, to a lesser extent, by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, that the fact-finding process by which the aggravation of an offence carrying a sentence of more than two years’ imprisonment is to be proved has not been defined in the Bill, is taken out of the hands of the jury by the Bill and put into the hands of the judge, and does not satisfy the basic requirement of English law that the findings of fact about an offence are for the jury, and the sentencing is for the judge.

Of course I take the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, that the judge has discretion in many cases—including the offence of murder, which the noble and learned Lord mentioned—to increase or reduce a sentence in accordance with his view of the evidence. However, that does not answer the central point that what we have here is the creation of a raft of new aggravated offences, and the position that it is for the judge alone to decide whether he is dealing with an aggravated offence or a basic offence; and the basic offence can be quite a minor offence in general terms.

The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, has not answered the question from my noble friend Lord Thomas as to whether there would or would not be a Newton hearing. He has not answered the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, about how the judge makes a determination that the offence is to be treated as aggravated. I invite the noble Lord to go back and discuss with his colleagues in government how this point can be dealt with so as to ensure that the aggravated offence is either charged, tried and convicted in accordance with our principles of law by the jury, or how it is to be determined on proper evidence, if not by the jury then by the judge.

The clause as it stands is unacceptable. For that reason, I maintain the questions that I have about it.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Department: Ministry of Justice

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 9th February 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

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I am unpersuaded of any need for significant change, though I would happily unpack it in the way my amendment does. I note the attempt by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, to reach a compromise but, as yet, there is no evidence to suggest that a first year with a lower burden of proof is required. I will be interested to hear whether the Minister puts forward any arguments that would justify either the reduction in the burden of proof or the reduction in the burden of proof for a year.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have tabled and introduced their amendments and all the noble Lords who have spoken in this debate.

Following the dreadful attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and in Streatham, the Government reviewed the range of disruption and risk management tools at the disposal of those agencies whose job it is to keep us safe and identified areas that could be strengthened to improve public protection. We are committed to ensuring that the police and Security Service have the necessary tools to support them in their vital work.

TPIMs are an important part of those tools available to our operational partners. They were, as noble Lords have said, introduced in 2011, replacing control orders as a tool to prevent or restrict an individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. TPIMs are a last resort to protect the public from dangerous individuals whom it is not possible to prosecute or deport and offenders who remain a real threat after being released from prison. Clause 37 will increase the flexibility of TPIMs by amending the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, lowering the standard of proof from “balance of probabilities” to “reasonable grounds for suspecting”.

Amendment 27 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, would, as he outlined, require the Home Secretary to be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that an individual has been involved in terrorism-related activity when extending a TPIM notice beyond a second year. The standard of proof for initially imposing a TPIM under his amendment would be “reasonable suspicion”, the same as proposed by the Bill. I thank the noble Lord not only for the way he introduced his amendment but for his helpful outline of the background to TPIMs, control orders and the landscape against which we must examine these questions. Like everyone in your Lordships'’ House, I have immense respect for the noble Lord, who began his time as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation before I started working as an adviser at the Home Office and was still in post long after I had left. With respect, however, we do not agree with the need for his amendment.

As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, anticipated, I will point out that the 2011 Act requires that five conditions be met before a TPIM can be imposed. These are:

“Condition A is that the Secretary of State is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity.”


Clause 37 amends that condition so the standard of proof will be “reasonable suspicion”. The Act continues:

“Condition B is that some or all of the relevant activity is new terrorism-related activity … Condition C is that the Secretary of State reasonably considers that it is necessary, for purposes connected with protecting members of the public from a risk of terrorism, for terrorism prevention and investigation measures to be imposed on the individual … Condition D is that the Secretary of State reasonably considers that it is necessary, for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual's involvement in terrorism-related activity, for the specified terrorism prevention and investigation measures to be imposed on the individual … Condition E is that … the court gives the Secretary of State permission under section 6”


to impose the TPIM. This happens in advance of the TPIM being imposed, or shortly after in an urgent case.

The Government are amending only one of these conditions—condition A, regarding the standard of proof. Lowering the standard of proof does not mean that the Government will be able to extend TPIMs whenever there is a suspicion of terrorism-related activity. To address the question raised by my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering, this is not about the frequency of TPIMs but about their flexibility as a tool for our operational partners. All the other conditions will remain unchanged, and with robust safeguards. These require the Home Secretary to be satisfied that it is necessary and proportionate, to protect the public from a risk of terrorism, to impose a TPIM notice and the measures specified in it on an individual. The Government contend that proving past terrorism-related activity and demonstrating necessity are separate and distinct limbs of the TPIM test. It is also the Government’s contention that demonstrating necessity and proportionality is the key factor when considering whether a TPIM notice should be renewed beyond its first year, rather than the standard of proof applied to terrorism-related activity.

The Section 16 appeals process is particularly important in the context of longer TPIMs. I am certain that the court will take great care, when considering Section 16 appeals, that conditions C and D, which I outlined a moment ago, continue to be met. It may help if I offer a hypothetical case to demonstrate how an enduring TPIM might work in practice. Let us imagine a scenario in which a charismatic radicaliser has been relocated, has had an overnight residence measure imposed, is prohibited from accessing internet-enabled devices and is banned from associating with several individuals. Over time, it would be reasonable to expect the TPIM notice to contain ever fewer measures, so that, for example, only one prohibited associate remained. In that sense the TPIM might function similarly to licence conditions.

There is clear precedent from the control order regime which operated under a previous Government and which, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, will remember, allowed for control orders to be renewed without placing a limit on the number of renewals or increasing the standard of proof the longer they endured for the orders not to last indefinitely. Within the lifetime of control orders, 30 individuals were subject to an order for up to two years, eight for between two and three years, four for between three and four years, and only three for between four and five years. There were many cases in which the then Government either revoked or decided not to renew the control order on the grounds that the necessity test was no longer satisfied. A similar approach would be taken with TPIMs following the enactment of this clause. The Government have no desire to keep people on a TPIM any longer than is necessary and proportionate to protect the public. Removing the time limit is intended to address the risk of TPIM subjects riding out the current maximum of two years with no change to their mindset, and to address the risk of a cliff edge being created by forcing a TPIM to be removed when a risk to public safety remains. I am conscious that we will look at this issue in more detail in the next group, but I make those points because the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said he would be keeping his ears open for a response.

As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said, the Public Bill Committee in another place, heard from Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, Deputy Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, who spoke not just for the police but on behalf of the security services, and outlined some hypothetical cases where a lower standard of proof could make a substantive difference. I think it would be helpful to highlight the practical examples he gave. The first scenario is where significant concern about an individual’s behaviour or activities as a radicaliser has led to their arrest. There may be, however, insufficient material to reach the prosecution threshold and the individual would have to be released. As ACC Jacques says, the lower burden of proof may help to manage the risk posed by the individual while further investigative and risk-mitigation measures are pursued.

The second scenario ACC Jacques gave is where an individual’s risk profile accelerates rapidly in the form of their moving quickly from consuming terrorist material online to presenting a future risk of attack. We have sadly seen this in the case of many lone-actor terrorists. There will not always be sufficient evidence to prosecute in a scenario such as this, particularly where an individual does not have a long history of terrorism-related activity. While a variety of tools and controls to manage this risk will be considered by our operational partners, and a TPIM may not be the measure that is ultimately deemed most appropriate, lowering the standard of proof will help to ensure that a TPIM can be used where it is deemed the best tool for mitigating the risk.

The third scenario that ACC Jacques gave was where an individual has been to, say, Syria to fight for a terrorist organisation, but evidence of their activities while they are overseas is hard to gather. This addresses the point raised by my noble friend Lord Faulks. There will be a range of tools which the Government and their operational partners will consider using on a case-by-case basis to prevent or to manage that individual’s return to the UK and, if they return, prosecution will remain our strong preference. However, if there are evidential difficulties, as understandably there are when we talk about activity in theatre in places such as Syria, and we cannot meet the burden of proof required by a criminal court—that is, beyond reasonable doubt—but we do have a reasonable suspicion that a person has been involved in terrorism-related activity, then the lower standard of proof will ensure that a TPIM can be considered as a risk management tool to protect the public here in the UK.  

I think it was worth setting those out in detail because these are credible and not unlikely scenarios for which we must be prepared. That is why we contend that setting the standard of proof at reasonable grounds for suspecting at the extension stage is just as important as at the imposition of a TPIM to maintain a TPIM for as long as necessary.

I now turn to Amendment 28 in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. His amendment would require the Home Secretary to believe

“on the basis of reasonable and probable grounds”

rather than have “reasonable grounds for suspecting” that an individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity before imposing a TPIM. Again, with respect to the noble and learned Lord, we do not agree with the necessity of this amendment.

The noble and learned Lord’s amendment proposes a mixture of recognised standards of proof within the TPIM regime. Specifically, it appears to blend the standards of “reasonable belief” and “balance of probabilities”. As the noble and learned Lord said, he has suggested this formulation with the intention of creating a new middle ground between those two standard—that is, a balance between the standard which applied when the 2011 Act was first introduced, and the current standard of proof following changes made by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Although I am not a lawyer and, mindful of the entreaties of my noble friend Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, I do not apologise for that—I speak as a non-lawyer—but I must suggest that the mixing of established standards of proof which are recognised by the courts and by decision-makers would not be helpful or appropriate. We are not aware of evidence that the recognised standards are, in and of themselves, inoperable as thresholds. Given the potential for confusion in the application of this amendment—that is, blending legal tests of belief and probability—we urge the noble and learned Lord to withdraw his amendment on this ground alone.

Additionally, the amendment would require a higher standard of proof than is proposed under the Bill. That goes against the policy intent of the Bill, which is to ensure that our operational partners can make use of TPIMs more flexibly in their efforts to protect the public. The pace at which the Security Service and the police must operate to thwart attacks and manage risk to the public is faster than ever before. The question of whether a person has carried out terrorism-related activity will often depend on an incomplete jigsaw puzzle of intelligence rather than hard evidence, as the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, outlined in opening this debate. In such cases, it is right that we give our operational partners the option of a TPIM as a risk management tool.

I have already referred to the evidence given by ACC Tim Jacques, which outlined the Security Service’s assessment of the benefits of lowering the standard of proof. The three scenarios he outlined—the activities of a known radicaliser, a rapidly escalating risk from someone who has consumed terrorist-related content online and a foreign fighter returning from Syria—all apply in relation to this amendment as well and form part of the Government’s justification for respectfully disagreeing with it.

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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I am grateful to the Minister for his explanation but I am somewhat confused. He cites the evidence given by assistant chief constable Tim Jacques and the three examples that he gave. I will carefully read his evidence in Hansard and what the Minister has said the assistant chief constable said.

From what the Minister was saying, the assistant chief constable was saying why TPIMs were necessary. It was because—I think I am quoting the Minister accurately—there was not sufficient evidence to reach the criminal standard of proof, but the criminal standard of proof is “beyond reasonable doubt”. From the examples that the assistant chief constable gave—as I say, I shall go back and read them carefully—I thought there was definitely evidence that the person may be involved in terrorism on the balance of probabilities. There would therefore be no reason in the three scenarios that the assistant chief constable gave for issuing a TPIM against those three people, on the current evidence.

The Minister has apparently ignored the history of this Parliament and its views on so-called future proofing, when it comes to the deprivation of people’s liberties and the severe imposition of restrictions on people’s human rights, as evidenced by the former Labour Government’s attempts to extend the period that terrorist suspects could be detained by the police without charge. Parliament does not take kindly to, “Well, okay, we accept that there is no evidence that a change in the standard of proof is necessary in this case, but it might be in the future, so we’re doing it just in case”. We cannot deprive people of their liberty to the extent that TPIMs do on the basis of “Well, it might be required in future”.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, there were a number of questions in the noble Lord’s intervention there. I certainly encourage him to reread the evidence given by ACC Jacques on 25 June 2020. Asked specifically about the proposal to change the burden of proof, he said:

“The Security Service points to three instances where it thinks this would have utility from an operational perspective.”—[Official Report, Commons, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Public Bill Committee, 25/6/20; col. 20]


He then outlined the three scenarios that I have just repeated—but it is certainly worth looking at his evidence in full.

We are not ignoring the views of Parliament; that is why we are here in Committee, rightly scrutinising this Bill. But I repeat that we are talking about a burden of proof that has previously existed and been enacted by your Lordships’ House and the other place; it was repeatedly tested in the courts and found to be compatible with the ECHR, so I am not sure that I agree with the characterisation that the noble Lord gives.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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I am grateful to the Minister for his courteous response. I do not think I ever had the pleasure of meeting him in Marsham Street, although I had a good deal of respect for his boss. I am also grateful to noble Lords from all three main parties, the Cross Benches and the Bench of Bishops, who made such interesting and supportive contributions to this debate.

Those speeches will repay careful study and, after my long opening speech, noble Lords would not thank me for revisiting their many highlights. I will say simply that it was striking to hear the observation of a former Lord Chief Justice that the change now proposed, described by the Minister as “marginal”, is “completely unacceptable in a civilised society”. I defer to the right reverend Prelate on the theological distinction between belief and suspicion, while making a mental note to ask him some time where faith fits into the spectrum.

The central question, to which, with respect to the Minister, I received no satisfactory answer, is this: if, as Chris Philp said in the Commons, the current standard of proof has, in almost 10 years, not stopped a desired TPIM from being granted, why do we need to change it? The Minister spoke of “hypothetical” cases of, for example, a returning Syrian fighter. Well, we have had 15 years-worth of real cases under control orders and TPIMS, including several hundred returned Syrian fighters who were screened and considered for these measures, and it remains the case that this issue has not posed any problem in practice.

The Minister spoke of “flexibility”. Well, most of us are flexible enough to countenance some compromise, even of basic freedoms, if there is a pressing reason for it, whether that be public health or public safety. However, until I have seen that pressing reason—or at least fully understood what it is supposed to be—I cannot support Clause 37.

The point was well made by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, that the hypothetical cases put forward in support of 90-day police detention were without foundation. We have managed perfectly well in practice for 10 years with the 14-day limit introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

No doubt we will come back to these issues at a later stage. Before that, I shall reflect on the fair challenge from both the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, that, in formulating Amendment 27, I may, in the absence of evidence for its position from the Government, have been too ready to compromise in respect of the first year. As to that first year, the Minister said nothing very specific—unless I missed it. However, for now, as is usual at this stage of the proceedings, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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I am relatively new to these debates, but I remember making the point at Second Reading about the importance of rehearsing these arguments each time we make these types of orders. These orders are some of the most intrusive that we have in our country. Young people listening to these debates need to be convinced regularly of how important these orders are and that they are proportionate and protect our liberties.

In her introduction, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, drew a parallel with the group; there are obvious parallels between the legal tests in the previous group and the length of the TPIMs that we have been discussing in this group. Interestingly, in responding to the previous group, the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, talked about a reduction in the measures within TPIMs as they progress in time. I hope that the noble Lord will be able to expand on that when he winds up the debate.

As I am now used to, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, has given a balanced view. He has put forward another compromise, although I sense that the Liberal Democrats and perhaps my own party, the Labour Party, are less convinced by this type of compromise, but nevertheless he has set one out in his amendments. I thought that he put an interesting challenge to the Minister, who is a former special adviser in the Home Office. I do not think that it was a rhetorical challenge, but I would be interested to know the noble Lord’s response. Would he have felt comfortable about recommending a discharge to an indefinite TPIM when he was in that role? It would be a difficult thing for a Minister or a special adviser to do. If the orders had a natural time limit, that would not put people in such a difficult and invidious position.

The other point made by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, was that excessive zeal can be counterproductive. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, also made the point when he drew an interesting parallel with the IPP regime and the importance of not taking away hope from people who are subject to orders, whether they be for imprisonment or a form of effectively indefinite house arrest. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, summed up these arrangements very well. He quoted the noble Lord, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, who I remember well in the House, when he drew parallels with internment. In fact, I may have been here when he made that speech. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, also quoted Jonathan Hall extensively when he said that there should at the very least be an upper limit to the time that a TPIM can be in place without a further court order.

For all these reasons, the amendments as put forward by the other speakers in this group are worthy of our support.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate on this group. Amendment 29, in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would require the Home Secretary to secure the permission of the court before signing a TPIM extension notice. We do not think that that is a necessary amendment to the Bill. To demonstrate why, it might be helpful to the Committee if I explain first the process by which the Home Secretary considers whether a TPIM notice should be extended, a process that will remain in place after the removal of the time limit as proposed by the Bill. I hope that that provides some reassurance to the Committee both about the thorough consideration which goes into whether the continuation of a TPIM is necessary and about the robust judicial oversight that is already built into the process.

At this stage, I should say in response to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, which I was certainly hoping to treat as rhetorical but which the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, rightly picked on, these are rightly not matters in which special advisers are involved. They are questions for the Secretary of State and Ministers.

When extending a TPIM, the Home Secretary will consider the Security Service’s assessment as to whether it remains necessary. It is true that significant weight is placed on the professionalism and expertise of the Security Service, but the process is not simply a tick box exercise. The Home Office routinely challenges the Security Service’s assessments to ensure that they are robust. The scrutiny is demonstrated by the public comments which have been made by successive former Independent Reviewers of Terrorism Legislation, who, for instance, have noted that through the quarterly TPIM review group meetings all TPIM notices in force are reassessed, including whether the measures imposed or the TPIM notice itself are necessary and proportionate, and what the exit strategy is for the notice.

If the Home Secretary considers that the extension of a TPIM notice is necessary, she will then consider whether the current measures remain necessary and proportionate to restrict the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity, or whether any of them need varying. To address the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, this can be in the form of a removal, a relaxation, or further restrictions.

This might be a good point to talk a little more about rehabilitation. To answer the question that the noble Baroness asked about whether somebody who has been subject to a TPIM could theoretically be subject to another, yes, they could, although that would have to rely on a separate national security case or evidence of terrorism-related activity. TPIMs are not designed as a tool of punishment; they are a tool of prevention and rehabilitation. Part of them involves encouraging subjects to attend what are known as desistence and disengagement programmes to assist with their rehabilitation and to turn them away from behaviour that leads them to be subjects of concern.

Decisions to extend a TPIM notice are not taken lightly but are based on detailed assessments by the Security Service and counterterrorism policing’s experience of managing the subject. The assessment that the Security Service provides will not only be based on the original national security case put forward for the imposition of the TPIM; it will also include the intelligence, both covert and overt, gathered over the course of the preceding 12 months. This could include evidence of further terrorism-related activity or non-compliance that does not reach the criminal threshold or which cannot be exhibited in open court. When extending a TPIM notice, the TPIM subject is invited to make representations before a decision is made. These are put before the Home Secretary.

As I outlined in our debate on the previous group, the 2011 Act established robust judicial oversight of the TPIM process. I will set out what that means. I hope to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, on some of the existing safeguards. The court will consider at a permission hearing whether the Home Secretary’s initial decision to impose a TPIM was “obviously flawed” and will overturn a notice or its measures where that is the case. This is known as a Section 9 hearing. If I understand the amendment, this is a process that the noble Baroness and the noble Lord would like to see replicated when a notice is extended beyond a second year.

Section 16 of the TPIM Act provides an appeal route for TPIM subjects to challenge any refusal to vary their notice or to extend it, in addition to the Section 9 hearing. The in-built appeal route available through Section 16 makes it difficult to see in practice what the amendment would achieve in establishing an additional safeguard beyond that.

In addition to the Section 9 hearing and the Section 16 appeal process, the TPIM Act also requires the Home Secretary to keep under regular review the ongoing necessity of a TPIM notice under Section 11. This responsibility is also taken seriously. It is why the Home Office runs the quarterly TPIM review groups, where all TPIM subjects are discussed, including the notices to which they are subject and whether these remain proportionate and necessary.

I turn to Amendment 30, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich. I thank him for outlining it. His amendment would amend the 2011 Act so that a TPIM notice can be extended on “one or more” occasions if the conditions in Section 3 of that Act continue to be met. Currently, a TPIM notice can be extended only once and therefore has a maximum duration of two years. However, we respectfully disagree with the noble Lord on the need for his amendment. It would prevent a TPIM notice being renewed for as long as it is necessary for the purposes of public protection. Instead, it would set a new upper limit of four years. While we disagree with the noble Lord’s amendment, I should say at the outset that we support its principle in so far as it recognises that there are circumstances where it may be necessary to impose a TPIM beyond the current two-year limit, which the Government contend is too short.

There are several policy and operational justifications for Clause 38. First, experience has shown that there are TPIM subjects who pose an enduring risk beyond the two-year limit. This has meant that a new TPIM has had to be imposed after reaching the current limit and, as a consequence, a dangerous cliff edge has been created while the individual is at large in the community without the appropriate risk management tools in place before a new TPIM can be imposed. That has happened on more than one occasion. ACC Tim Jacques spoke to this risk when he gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee in another place.

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. I have two questions. First, he spoke about Section 9 hearings and the appeal route under Section 16 making our amendment unnecessary. Can he tell the Committee how many times TPIMs have been revoked or restrictions eased as a result of each of these types of hearing?

Secondly, terrorism prevention and investigation measures are, as their title describes, temporary means of preventing terrorism taking place while an investigation tries to establish evidence to convict the person in a criminal court. Control orders, on the other hand, have been used in the past for public protection. If the Government are changing the nature of TPIMs and abandoning them as a temporary measure to enable an investigation to take place in safety, why do they continue to call them TPIMs? Why not now call them control orders, which are in fact what the Government are trying to use here?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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I will take the questions in reverse order. Prosecution is always the preferred method of disrupting those involved in terrorism-related activity. That will continue to be the case even under this Bill. Under the TPIM Act 2011, the Home Secretary is required to keep prosecution under review. That will not change with the amendments we propose to the Bill. If it becomes clear that there is an avenue for prosecution, the Home Office will support the police and the Crown Prosecution Service in bringing that prosecution against the individual and seek to remove the TPIM notice if it is no longer necessary and proportionate.

On the noble Lord’s first question about the number of times that appeals have been raised, if he is happy it would be better if I write and provide that information to him and the rest of the Committee so that I can be certain that it is up to date and accurate.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I hope that noble Lords will forgive me if, in the interests of time, I do not comment on every contribution. I must say, I have edited my notes as we have gone along, and it is more or less the same cast of characters throughout the clauses and amendments on this part of the Bill.

I noted in particular two comments that I think are well worth keeping in mind: my noble friend Lord Strasburger saying that two years is a serious length of time, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas—who, as ever, put pithily and succinctly an issue that is at the heart of the case, as it were—saying that the effect of indefinite detention or what is perceived as indefinite detention, by the taking away of hope, is to create greater danger.

In response to the question about how many new TPIMs there have been because of the cliff-edge issue, we were told it was “more than one occasion”. If the noble Lord is able to expand on that, I would be grateful. I observe with regard to reviews—I use that term quite broadly—that it is difficult, if not impossible, for the subject to make effective representations because he does not know what points put to the Secretary of State he is responding to. It is worth saying one final sentence on the carrot—yes, that is what it is—of investing. One cannot even say that it is investing in rehabilitation, because no offence has been proved, but investing in managing the risk has to be worth it, even if you look at it coldly in terms of pounds and pence, because of the cost of enforcing and supervising TPIMs. I am looking at my screen to see whether the Minister will be able to respond to the question that I just put. As he has not leapt up—oh, he has.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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Only to disappoint the noble Baroness, but also to reassure her that I will add that to the information I provide in writing following the debate.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful for that. We are in Committee, so it is appropriate that I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton Portrait Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Lab) [V]
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This amendment does not address head-on the power under a TPIM to require somebody to relocate. This amendment is only touching on whether the Secretary of State should by notice have power to vary a relocation measure, in part, because

“the variation is necessary for reasons connected with the efficient and effective use of resources.”

While I recognise the intrusive effect that relocation can have, I accept that there may be cases where national security demands it. I am interested to hear from the Minister what test is to be applied where a variation of a relocation order occurs when it

“is necessary for reasons connected with efficient and effective use of resources.”

I do not know, but I suspect that this concerns the perception that someone should relocate for national security reasons. Where they relocate to might be affected by the circumstances in which such an order might be enforced; the amount of resources that would be required if it was to be enforced where they normally live becoming disproportionate; or the amount of resources that would be required where they had been located becoming disproportionate. If that is right, I would have expected the measure in new subsection (1A) in Clause 39(2) to reflect something about proportionality. But there is nothing in it, and I would be interested to hear what the Minister has to say. I hope he will indicate that resource relocations will occur only when it is effectively necessary to provide for national security.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, have explained, this amendment is intended to prevent the possibility, as proposed by Clause 39, of varying a TPIM subject’s relocation measure for reasons connected with the efficient and effective use of resources in relation to that individual. I hear what they say about wanting to understand and explore that through this amendment.

We do not believe that the amendment as drafted would have that effect in practice, and we think that it could inadvertently broaden out the application of the clause to enable relocation of the TPIM subject for the second time for any reason. However, as I say, I understand the questions which lie behind their tabling it.

The Government are committed to future-proofing the TPIM regime to ensure that our operational partners are fully supported to manage TPIMs efficiently and effectively. Clause 39 has an important role in doing that. It will allow the Home Secretary to move an already relocated TPIM subject to an alternative location, if necessary, for resource-related reasons, provided that the national security reason for requiring relocation still exists—that is key to note.

We want to ensure that operational partners, and in particular counterterrorism policing, are supported in their function of managing this small but significant cohort of high-risk individuals within the community. This clause seeks to ensure that there is a greater degree of flexibility in the system, so that there can continue to be effective management of a TPIM subject when operational circumstances evolve.

To provide a real-world example of where a police force finds that resources are affected, I draw the Committee’s attention to the Novichok poisonings in Amesbury, in Wiltshire, in June 2018, which suddenly and significantly diverted police resource in a small force for a considerable period of time to that important and high-profile investigation. In such a scenario, if a TPIM subject was residing within the force area, it might no longer be possible for counterterrorism policing to provide the same dedicated resources to ensure that the TPIM was being managed effectively and in a way that reduced the threat to the wider public.

The new ground to vary the relocation measure could also potentially be used to cover the following: first, a temporary move of the TPIM subject because all relevant counterterrorism officers with the necessary skills become unavailable at the same time due to illness or another temporary reason, such as during the current pandemic, for example, which I am sure will be on noble Lords’ minds; or, secondly, in circumstances where the presence of the TPIM subject becomes known locally and, as a result, there is increased pressure on counterterrorism resources to keep the subject both monitored and safe.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, asked about the test for the Home Secretary. When first deciding where to relocate a TPIM subject, provided there is a national security reason to do so, the Home Secretary takes into account various factors to arrive at a proportionate decision. These include but are not limited to: the personal circumstances of the individual; the availability of services and amenities, including access to employment, education, places of worship and medical facilities; the proximity to prohibited associates; and the demographics of the community. It is reasonable to apply a similar approach when deciding whether the police force area in which the TPIM subject currently resides continues to be the most appropriate area for them to be placed.

We do not anticipate this ground to vary the relocation measure being used except in exceptional circumstances. We fully recognise that the relocation of a TPIM subject —or the re-relocation of the subject, as would be the case if relying on this new ground—is a significant action to take given the potential impact on the individual and could be used only when necessary and proportionate to do so, taking into account their Article 8 rights. The Government understand that stability in a subject’s life is a crucial factor behind their rehabilitation and supporting them to move away from an extremist mindset, which, of course, we want them to do.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, rightly said that this amendment does not address head-on the question of relocation. However, as he raised it and noble Lords are interested, it is worth reiterating that the Home Secretary can relocate a TPIM subject only if it is necessary and proportionate to prevent and restrict involvement in terrorism-related activity, that consideration is always given to the subject’s Article 8 rights, and that, furthermore, a TPIM notice does not prevent an individual seeking or maintaining employment or study—in the past, TPIM subjects have pursued both of those. It is also worth reminding the Committee that TPIMs are different from the control order regime. Under control orders, somebody could be relocated anywhere in the country, whereas under TPIMs, relocation is up to 200 miles away from their home address.

We assess that, in most cases where a TPIM subject has been relocated but there is then a requirement to move them to a new place of residence, that is provided for within existing legislation. However, as with several of the changes we are seeking to introduce through this Bill, we deem it important expressly to create this flexibility for our operational partners within the TPIM Act 2011 as part of our mission to future-proof the system and to ensure that TPIMs can be managed efficiently and effectively.

Decisions to vary the relocation measure for resource reasons will be capable of appeal. As with other unilateral variations to the TPIM notice, the function of the appeal court will be to review whether the variation was necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. Additionally, however, for variations to the relocation measure on resource grounds, the appeal court will also review whether the variation was necessary for the efficient and effective use of resources.

Given the crucial tasks that we expect of our operational partners, we want to ensure that we support them as best we can in their effective management of TPIM subjects, as well as in their ability to respond to other high-priority work such as the examples I have given.

Amendment 30B is consequential on Amendment 30A, and the same arguments apply. I therefore invite the noble Baroness not to press her amendments.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I shall of course withdraw Amendment 30A and I shall not move Amendment 30B. The questions asked about proportionality and national security should be at the heart of this. The flexibility to which the Minister referred seems to suggest that subjects might be moved closer together for ease of management, which is the exact opposite of what I thought was one of the objectives of this regime.

I am still puzzled that

“purposes connected with preventing or restricting … involvement in terrorism-related activity”

in new Section 12(1A)(b) does not cover the Salisbury example that the Minister used, but, as one always does, I will look at the explanation, because I may well have missed it.

I did not miss the fact that my drafting was inadequate, but I do not take exception to that comment—that could be corrected later if necessary. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, we have had two different debates in this group. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, moved that Clause 40 should not stand part of the Bill, and I can do no better than the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and his three questions, which I thought were very apposite and to the point. I will listen with interest to the Minister’s answers to those three questions.

My noble friends Lord Hunt and Lord Bach then spoke to their Amendment 31. As we have heard, the gist of the amendment is to formalise a relationship between the Secretary of State, PCCs and local chief constables to give more direct input by PCCs. In the words of my noble friend Lord Bach, PCCs are responsible for the “totality of policing” in their area. As we have heard, they are already involved in controversial matters such as stop and search and covert activities. Of course, I support my noble friends in trying to give the PCCs more formal involvement in TPIMs in their own areas.

I look forward to my noble friend Lord Bach playing a greater part in the proceedings of our House. He has for many years brought great insight into his many roles on the Front Bench, and occasionally on the Back Benches, but he will improve that even further when he comes back as a PCC. He may, of course, have to do extra time; we wait to see. I will listen with interest to what the Minister has to say, and I will support my noble friends.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. As some have remarked, Amendment 31 might have as easily sat in the previous group as this one. I turn first to that amendment, in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Hunt of King’s Heath and Lord Bach. It aims to increase the oversight that local policing bodies, including police and crime commissioners, have of TPIM notices in their area. It would require the Home Secretary to notify the relevant local policing body when a TPIM notice is imposed in their area, and when a TPIM is withdrawn, ends or is relocated, so that it no longer falls within their area. It would also require the local policing body to provide six-monthly reports to the Home Secretary, which could include recommendations regarding variations to the TPIM and its continued necessity.

Because of the operational nature of the amendment and the impact that it would have on existing processes, officials at the Home Office have consulted colleagues in Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters on it, and they support our view that it is not needed in the Bill. Engagement with police forces is already an integral part of the TPIM regime. The Home Office works very closely with CT policing, both nationally via CTPHQ and with regional CT units, before a TPIM is imposed and during its lifetime, including regular engagement at quarterly TPIM review group meetings chaired by the Home Office. This well-established process ensures that TPIMs are imposed only following engagement with, and ultimately the consent of, the relevant local police force. This existing practice also means that local community impact assessments are kept up to date, which supports the effective and efficient management of the TPIM subject by the Home Office and operational partners.

Given the current close working relationship that we have with operational partners in the ongoing management of a TPIM subject, there is no need for the local policing body to produce six-monthly reports; review meetings are already in any event held at more regular intervals than the amendment would require reports to be written, and those meetings already consider the types of issue that the amendment is seeking to ensure are included in any report. The amendment would also distort existing roles and responsibilities; it would be inappropriate for the relevant local policing body or police and crime commissioner to put recommendations for varying a TPIM or its continued necessity directly to the Home Secretary. Those judgments are, quite rightly, led by the Home Office in conjunction with the Security Service, which makes fully informed recommendations based on its expert assessment of national security risk. Like the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, I think the examples that noble Lords gave of stop and search and other decisions are in a different category from the imposition of a TPIM.

It is vital that TPIM oversight and management processes protect the highly classified information that flows through a TPIM regime, including the details of the TPIM subject and the underlying national security case against them. The Government, CTPHQ and the Security Service are concerned about how the amendment could work in practice with regard to sharing and disclosure of such highly sensitive information. The close working relationships already in place and well-tested processes on information-sharing between the Home Office, CT policing and the Security Service make it unnecessary.

I turn to Clause 40, which amends the existing overnight residence measure in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act to strengthen the ability of the Home Secretary to specify certain hours when a TPIM subject must remain at a specified residence. Taken literally, the amendment in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, would remove Clause 40 from the Bill altogether and prevent several operational benefits from being realised. That is why the Government cannot support it.

Having a residence measure at our disposal is vital in managing an individual of national security concern and the risk that they pose to the public. That has long been the case, but our engagement with operational partners has established that the existing overnight measure could and should be improved to allow for greater flexibility in the way in which it can be imposed—specifically, by introducing a requirement for a TPIM subject to remain within his or her residence at specific times during the day, as well as overnight, when this is assessed as necessary and proportionate to manage the risk that they pose. The updated residence measure that Clause 40 introduces will allow the Home Secretary to specify a period that could be longer than overnight or spilt into varying segments throughout a 24-hour period, if considered necessary.

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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I have nothing of substance to add to the comments of the previous two speakers, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick. I, too, was going to raise the point made by the noble Lord about the right to silence of someone who is subject to a TPIM, as they are not convicted of an offence. The noble Baroness adequately covered the other points, so I have nothing more to add.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their contributions and brevity in this group so that we can make as much progress as possible. All these amendments are in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee.

Clause 41 provides for the addition of a polygraph measure into Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act 2011. Doing that will, in circumstances where it is assessed to be necessary and proportionate, help our operational partners to assess an individual’s compliance with his or her TPIM notice and support the decision-making on whether variations to the notice are required. That could include relaxations as well as restrictions.

As with all TPIM measures, polygraphs will not be mandatory for all TPIM subjects. I should like to reassure the Committee that we anticipate this measure being used sparingly, in a targeted and proportionate manner. Operational partners will consider its utility in relation to each TPIM subject on a case-by-case basis and make a recommendation to the Home Office for its imposition where appropriate.

By way of example, the results of a polygraph test may indicate that a TPIM subject is meeting someone whom he or she is prohibited from seeing for national security reasons at a particular location. While any findings from the polygraph test will be considered in the round by operational partners—that is, without an overreliance on the test findings and considered against other available information—the findings could inform a recommendation for the TPIM measures to be varied to restrict the subject from frequenting that specific location. The results could also be used to inform an assessment of whether a subject’s engagement with rehabilitation programmes under the TPIM notice is genuine.

We recognise that the prospect of polygraph testing understandably creates questions about the way in which information gleaned from tests may be used. That is precisely why we have taken steps to ensure that the wording of the clause is clear on that issue. The polygraph testing should only be carried out with a view to monitoring the individual’s compliance with other specified TPIM measures and assessing whether any variation of their measures is necessary. We have also specified that such information cannot be used in evidence against the individual in any criminal proceedings.

To further reassure the Committee of the steps that we are taking to ensure that this addition is both proportionate and considered, the clause sets out that the new measure will not be used unless and until the Home Office introduces regulations to make provision for the conduct of the polygraph sessions. Those regulations are likely to include detail, for example, on the qualifications and experience needed by polygraph operators and how records of the polygraph sessions should be kept, thereby ensuring transparency on how this measure will be applied in practice. The regulations would be laid before Parliament for scrutiny in the usual manner.

As with all other measures contained in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act, this measure will not be imposed unless the Home Secretary reasonably considers it necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. It is important that we harness available technology and provide our operational partners with the tools necessary to protect the public, and that is what the clause will do.

Turning our attention to Amendment 30C, as I have set out, Clause 41 adds the new polygraph measure to the list of available measures in Schedule 1 to the 2011 Act. Following Royal Assent, if the polygraph measures are imposed, a TPIM subject will be required to undertake a polygraph test. Failure to do so would, to answer the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, be a breach of the TPIM measure. We appreciate the spirit in which the amendment has been tabled, but we respectfully disagree about the necessity of it. Condition D in Section 3(4) of the TPIM Act 2011 requires,

“that the Secretary of State reasonably considers that it is necessary, for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity, for the specified terrorism prevention and investigation measures to be imposed on the individual”

under a TPIM notice. In addition, Section 12(1)(c) of the TPIM Act requires,

“the Secretary of State reasonably considers that the variation is necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity.”

Therefore, all the measures imposed under a TPIM notice and any subsequent variation must be considered to be necessary for those purposes.

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Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I may have missed it, but I am not sure that the noble Lord answered the point about the right to silence. It is difficult to read body language from eight miles away.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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I apologise. I did not do so, but if the noble Baroness is happy, I will write to her and follow it up, along with any other questions that I might have missed.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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Equally, of course, we will go through the Official Report to see whether all our concerns have been addressed. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I have nothing to add to the points made by the previous two speakers.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, through Clause 42 we are adding a new measure to the list of available measures in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act 2011. If it is imposed, a TPIM subject would be required to submit to a drug test and provide a relevant sample.

Operational experience has shown that, in certain circumstances, drug use can exacerbate the risk of a subject engaging in terrorism-related activity. This new measure will support operational partners to mitigate this risk by confirming suspected drug use through a mandatory drug test and, where necessary, mandating attendance at rehabilitation programmes. They will want to follow up the questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, about where those drugs were obtained.

We consider this amendment unnecessary because the TPIM Act already contains robust safeguards regarding the imposition of all measures on TPIM subjects. Section 3 of the TPIM Act requires that at the point that a TPIM is first imposed the Home Secretary must reasonably consider that the TPIM notice and the measures specified within it are necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. Section 12 of the TPIM Act also requires that variations of measures specified in an existing TPIM notice, which would include the imposition of a drug testing measure, cannot be made unless the Home Secretary reasonably considers that the variation is necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity.

Given that existing requirement, the amendment proposed does not go further than the safeguards already in place. Furthermore, the existing requirements of the TPIM Act, to which I have just referred, apply to all measures rather than being confined solely to the drug testing measure as this amendment has it. For those reasons, we invite the noble Baroness to withdraw the amendment.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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My Lords, one might expect the Home Secretary asked to approve the measure to respond by asking those requesting it what the hell—sorry—the police were doing if they had not spotted that the subject was getting hold of drugs. As I anticipated, my question had already been answered. I hope that the hours that will be imposed—to pick up my noble friend’s comparison, which is not a comparison: alcohol is a drug too—will make it impossible to get hold of alcohol as well as drugs. However, my underlying question has been answered. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton Portrait Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Lab) [V]
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This amendment is probing the additional power given by Clause 43 of the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to seek disclosure of

“such details as may be specified of any electronic communication device possessed or used by the individual or any other person in the individual’s residence.”

Its purpose is readily understandable: namely, if the purpose of TPIMs is in part to prevent the subject of the TPIM communicating with anybody or receiving communications from anybody, the authorities should have the ability to look at all the electronic devices to which he or she has access.

However, as the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, have both pointed out, that means, for example, that the wife, husband or children of a subject become subject themselves to an intrusive order. I would be very interested to know whether the authorities are going to take a different approach to the question of the subject of a TPIM’s own electronic devices, as opposed to those of his family or those belonging to those with whom he lives. What is the standard going to be? Necessary and proportionate? Strong case? I would be very interested to hear what it is. Just before I depart, I will pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick. Although I have not agreed with every one of their amendments, they have shown indefatigable probing of this Bill and incredible good nature throughout.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I wholeheartedly agree with the final comments of the noble and learned Lord; that is exactly what Committee stage is for. It has been thorough but good natured, and long may that continue.

Clause 43 amends the existing electronic communication device measure in order that a TPIM subject will be required, upon request, to provide details of electronic communication devices—also known as ECDs—which they possess or use, or any such devices belonging to other individuals in their residence. It almost goes without saying that in the digital age in which we now live there is vast scope for ECDs to play a key role in the conduct or facilitation of terrorism-related activity, including attack planning and the radicalisation of others in a bid to inspire them to carry out a terrorist attack.

Amendment 30F would prevent the Home Secretary from being able to require TPIM subjects to provide details of electronic communication devices belonging to other people in their residence. This would significantly undermine the utility of the changes we are seeking to make and would ultimately be to the detriment of national security. We have seen in the past that TPIM subjects will access or try to access devices belonging to others in their household, as the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, rightly noted.

Clearly, there is an important balance to be struck between security and civil liberties, particularly of family members such as children. But we are clear, particularly given how sparingly we envisage this measure being imposed, that any impact on those residing with the TPIM subject—such as their family members—will be proportionate.

Preventing the Home Secretary from being able to require the provision of certain ECD-related information, as this amendment would have it, would leave a gap in a potentially useful information source which can assist with the effective management of the TPIM subject. I am happy to reassure noble Lords that, as with all measures contained in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act, this measure will not be applied unless the Home Secretary reasonably considers it necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity.

The Committee has already heard during the course of today’s debate that the TPIM regime has inbuilt and robust judicial oversight. This includes all TPIM subjects having an automatic right to have a court review of the imposition of their TPIM notice and each of the measures imposed, as well as a right of appeal should a TPIM subject wish to challenge a variation to one or more measures contained within the TPIM notice. This oversight will of course apply to the updated ECD measure proposed in this clause.

I hope that that provides noble Lords with the reassurances that they were hoping to receive and I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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My Lords, yes, I will seek to leave to withdraw my amendment.

I find it a bit difficult to understand in this connection how one applies proportionality. The question I asked of the Minister was whether this condition would be imposed in the case of every measure. Obviously, if there is nobody else living at the residence, it would be irrelevant. However—this is a bit rhetorical—how can one apply proportionality in this connection? Either you are concerned about communications through any electronic devices or you are not. I should probably leave that hanging, because it is really a rhetorical question.

I should not finish without thanking both noble Lords who have commented on our indefatigability and good humour. I am not sure whether the good humour showed throughout; I am glad that it appeared to. I acknowledge that picking up so many separate points must seem quite tedious, but quite a lot has come out, certainly that will help us to assess how to address these clauses at the next stage of the Bill, and reading every line and every word is what we are here for.

I apologise to noble Lords who had expected to be able to take part in the Statement on Myanmar, which is a very important and urgent issue. I am very sorry: it has nothing to do with any of us who are speaking and it is a great shame that that Statement was displaced from this evening.

I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I completely agree with my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford’s comments on the suspicions that many communities have about the Prevent programme, which is why, in the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, this House required the Government to undertake an independent review and report on the Government’s strategy for supporting people who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. A timetable was set in the 2019 Act for the Government to make arrangements within six months of that Act being passed and to report within 18 months. As my noble friend said, Clause 47 attempts to remove any timetable for starting, let alone completing, the independent review of Prevent.

As my noble friend said, and as I said at Second Reading, the most important and effective way to keep people safe from terrorist attacks is to prevent those at risk of becoming involved in terrorism-related activity doing so in the first place. It is vital that we know how effective Prevent is at identifying those at risk of being radicalised and diverting them away from potential terrorist activity, and that this is done as quickly as is reasonably practicable. Unless problems are identified and addressed, lives could be put at risk.

The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, suggests what might be described as a challenging and optimistic target of completing the review by 1 July 2021 in his Amendment 32. With the difficulties the Government have experienced over who should lead the review and the potential challenges ahead, there is a danger that a review within this timetable might not be thorough enough.

On 26 January, less than two weeks ago, the Government appointed a replacement independent reviewer of Prevent, William Shawcross. Mr Shawcross’s previous comments on Islam and the Iraq war have raised concerns in some quarters but, assuming he remains in post, the alternative timetable in our Amendment 33 should be achievable. This would give the Secretary of State six months to make arrangements for the review and for Mr Shawcross to lay before Parliament the report and any recommendations within a period of 18 months, beginning with the day this Bill is passed. I might be biased, but we prefer our Amendment 33.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, both amendments in this group would add a new statutory deadline for the completion of the independent review of Prevent. I certainly share the Committee’s firm commitment to the success of that independent review. It was clear in this short but important debate that our common objective is for a thorough and effective review to take place—one that will help us to learn how best to safeguard those who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

However, we must allow the new reviewer sufficient time to conduct such a thorough and effective review. These amendments would limit his options for reasonable flexibility, shorten the timeframe that he is given and put at risk his ability to do his job properly.

As the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, outlined, the review restarted two weeks ago, on 26 January, with the appointment of William Shawcross as the new independent reviewer. Our aim has been for the review to be completed by no later than August this year, but we will agree the precise timetable with Mr Shawcross shortly. We want to enable him to complete the review as swiftly as possible while affording him the consideration that his important task requires.

Of course, the uncertainties posed by the ongoing pandemic, such as the prospect of further ongoing restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings, could, self-evidently, have implications for the reviewer, as well as for his team and all those who wish to provide input into the review. I am afraid that we therefore have to consider the potential impact of that on his ability to take evidence, including the vital work of engaging with different parts of the community. As the noble Lords, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Paddick, highlighted, that work is vital, as is, for example, the reviewer witnessing for himself Prevent delivery in action so that he can deliver the thorough and evidence-based review, with practical recommendations for improvement, that we would like.

The Government believe that August this year is achievable, but this is of course dependent on the views of the new reviewer. He is independent, so I cannot speak for him at the Dispatch Box. We therefore recommend that the legislation affords the reviewer flexibility, should he feel that he needs it, to ensure that the valuable work of this review is not undermined. But we certainly hear what all noble Lords have said about the urgency, and I hope that they can hear that we share that. For those reasons, I urge the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, for the rhetorical flourish at the end of his speech, when he said that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, had been asking, “Why?”, on many of the previous groups. In his speech today, the noble Lord, Lord Thomas asked, “When will we get the Prevent review deadline?”

The Minister gave his reasons for putting Mr Shawcross in place. He has been in place for only two weeks and I understand that the Government have had problems in getting this review off the ground. I will not take a partisan view. I do not think that the amendment in my name is better than the one in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, but it is important to try to get a realisable date or timetable in the Bill so that the Government are held to that.

I will withdraw my amendment, but we might come back with a similar one at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Baroness Garden of Frognal Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Garden of Frognal) (LD)
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I apologise to the noble Lord. The delay in getting messages to the iPad on the Woolsack meant that I did not get the message that he wished to speak on the last group. But I now call the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, continues to prove himself doughty in the face of technological challenges, and I am happy to address the question he would have asked in the previous group. He makes a valid point about the much longer timeframe proposed in his amendment, which we debated in that group. As I said, however, because Mr Shawcross is an independent reviewer, I cannot speak for him at the Dispatch Box. We must speak to him and see what he feels is the timeframe he needs. If we are able to have that conversation and he feels able to give a view before Report stage, we will of course come back and report it, but it is for the independent reviewer to make his assessment of how long he needs to do the thorough job required, as I hope the noble Lord will understand.

Turning now to this group, Amendment 37 would require the Home Secretary to commission a new, judge-led review of the effectiveness of the Government’s strategy to deal with lone-actor terrorists. While I welcome the constructive spirit in which the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, tabled this amendment, I must respectfully disagree over the need to add it to the Bill.

I reassure the noble Lord that a great deal of work is already under way to combat the terrorist threat, including that posed by lone actors. My right honourable friend the Security Minister talked in some detail about this in a speech he gave at RUSI in November last year—particularly the term “lone actor” itself. If the noble Lord has not seen it, it is well worth reading. I would be very happy to provide noble Lords with a copy of that speech if they would like it.

The Government have been clear that we will not hesitate to act where necessary. Following the attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and in Streatham, we brought forward legislation to address flaws in the way terrorist offenders were managed. The legislation we are now debating marks the largest overhaul of terrorist sentencing in decades. It follows on from the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020, which came into force in February last year. That Act was, as noble Lords will remember, emergency legislation. One of its effects was to prevent around 50 terrorist prisoners being automatically released after serving only half their sentence, by amending their release point to at least two-thirds of their sentence and ensuring they are released only after an assessment by the Parole Board.

Following the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in November 2019, the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary commissioned Jonathan Hall QC to carry out an independent review of the effectiveness of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements, or MAPPA, when it comes to the management of terrorism, terrorist connections and offenders of terrorism concern in the community. MAPPA is the process through which the police, the Prison Service and the probation service work together and with other agencies—including children’s services, adult social services, health trusts and authorities, and youth offending teams—to protect the public by managing the risks posed by violent and sexual offenders living in the community.

That review found that MAPPA is a well-established process, and Mr Hall did not conclude that wholesale change is necessary. He made a number of recommendations on how the management of terrorists can be improved. In response to the review, the Government will shortly be bringing forward policing and crime legislation implementing a number of his recommendations, including new powers of premises and personal search, and an urgent power of arrest for counterterrorism policing.

This ongoing work builds on the response to the 2017 attacks. Three of the attacks in 2017 were carried out by lone actors, as was the attack in Reading, as the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, reminds us, which we sadly saw more recently. In 2018, the Government published a strengthened counterterrorism strategy, known as Contest, following operational improvement reviews overseen by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich. As part of that strategy we have piloted new multiagency approaches at the local level—in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester—to enable MI5 and counterterrorism policing to share more information with a broader range of partners, including government departments, the devolved Administrations and local authorities. This has enabled us to identify, mitigate and disrupt threats earlier. Our superb police, and security and intelligence agencies work around the clock to keep us safe: they have disrupted 27 terrorist plots since 2017.

There are now more than 20 government departments and agencies involved in the delivery of Contest, and we have worked to build strong relationships with the private sector, the third sector and the wider public. We will continue to invest in these relationships and drive greater integration, recognising that to reduce the risk of terrorism we need not only a whole-of-Government but a whole-of-society approach. In the context of the wide-ranging work already under way and recently completed, the Government do not consider that the noble Lord’s amendment is needed.

I turn now to Amendment 40. This proposed new clause would require the Secretary of State to lay a report within 12 months of the Bill being passed, defining which agencies are included within MAPPA for the purposes of managing terrorist offenders. The agencies included in MAPPA are already listed in Section 325 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. As has been mentioned already, these include criminal justice agencies such as the police and the probation service, as well as other agencies, including mental health services, social services and NHS England. These agencies are placed under a statutory obligation to work together to assess and manage the risk presented by serious offenders.

Moreover, agencies with a legal duty to co-operate with MAPPA must have regard to statutory guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice. This guidance, which also sets out which agencies must co-operate, is publicly available. Agencies that do not have a statutory duty to co-operate with MAPPA are not obliged to engage. There are, however, no barriers in place to prevent this engagement for the purposes of assessing and managing the risks presented by serious offenders. It is our belief that the right agencies already have a duty to co-operate in place, and, as such, they are listed publicly in the Criminal Justice Act.

I have already mentioned Jonathan Hall’s recent review of MAPPA. On the question of the identity of the agencies involved in MAPPA, he raised no issues. He did, however, raise questions about the way in which MAPPA agencies share information with each other, and the Government have confirmed in our response to his review that we will clarify the position in upcoming legislation to put the matter beyond doubt. We believe, therefore, that since this knowledge is already publicly available and enshrined in legislation, there is no need for this amendment. I hope the noble Lord agrees and that he will be willing to withdraw it.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I thank everyone who has spoken on this short group of amendments. The Minister offered to send the RUSI speech of his friend, which I would indeed be happy to read. The gist of his comments on Amendment 37 was that a judge-led review is not needed because there are other government reviews currently under way. I hear what he says, but I will reflect on the view he expresses.

On Amendment 40, he listed the statutory bodies that are required to co-operate with MAPPA, but I thought it was interesting that the list he read out was a much shorter list than the one I got from the probation officers, who said it was very important to go wider than the short list he mentioned and include, for example, local faith-based groups, education providers and third sector substance misuse agencies. Those sorts of agencies may well be very useful and informative for the MAPPA system. I hear what the noble Lord says about Jonathan Hall and the plan to help the different MAPPA agencies co-operate with each other, which must be the right way to proceed. I will reflect on what he said, and I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

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Bill reported with amendments.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, with thanks to all noble Lords who have enabled us to complete the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill this evening, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

House adjourned at 10.40 pm.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Scotland Office

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Excerpts
Report stage & Lords Hansard
Wednesday 3rd March 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 169-I Marshalled list for Report - (26 Feb 2021)
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Marks, set out his amendments clearly, and concentrated on the fact that the decision about a terrorist connection is made by a judge at the sentencing stage, not by the jury when they are assessing guilt or otherwise.

The noble Lord said that prior to the Bill, a limited number of offences were included. Those were serious offences, so his argument was that it did not make that much difference if there was a terrorist connection. He gave the example of ABH, for which the maximum sentence is seven years’ custody, although the penalty for low-level ABH may be some type of community order. His argument was that putting a terrorist connection on a wider range of lower-level offences would have a much larger effect on the likely sentence.

The noble Lord also spoke about activating notification requirements, and early release provisions. He prayed in aid the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, who previously raised the possibility of Newton hearings. I am much more sympathetic to that possibility than that laid out in the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Marks, which would mean that either somebody admitted in open court that there was a terrorist connection or there would be a trial of the issue.

Surely that determination should be made by the judge. A judge could make a determination that a Newton hearing was the right way forward. Perhaps the Bill should be amended to enable the judge to make a determination for a Newton hearing, or to take it on himself or herself to make a determination of whether there is a terrorist connection. For that reason, we will abstain on these amendments—but if, at a later stage, amendments along the line that I have just suggested, giving the judge discretion to order a Newton hearing, are tabled, we may well be in favour of those.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who spoke in this short debate. The amendment would require a trial of the issue as to whether there is a terrorist connection to an aggravated offence. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Marks, for the way in which he set out his amendment, but I am afraid we feel that it would represent a fundamental departure from existing processes—a significant divergence from practice within the wider criminal justice system—and it is therefore not an amendment that the Government consider necessary or appropriate.

It may be helpful if I first briefly recapitulate why the Government are making the changes that we propose in the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord McCrea, gave a good summary. Clause 1 will expressly require the courts, in cases where it appears that any non-terrorism offence with a maximum penalty of more than two years was committed in the course of an act of terrorism, or for the purposes of terrorism, actively to consider whether the offence was committed with a terrorist connection and should be aggravated as such. At present only specified offences can be so considered. Closing this loophole will make for more effective and flexible legislation, reflecting the fact that terrorist offending takes a wide variety of forms.

The noble Lord, Lord Marks, gave some examples of offences that are and are not covered. It might be helpful to include further examples. Various offences under the Firearms Act 1968 are not currently covered, including possessing a firearm with an intent to endanger life; as are offences under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, including destroying or damaging property with an intent to endanger life, and arson. There are many more, but I hope that provides an illustration of some of the offences that we think ought to be considered, if needed.

These changes will also ensure that the consequences of a terrorist connection are applied consistently to all offenders. The identification of a terrorist connection by the courts has a wide-ranging impact, as the noble Lord noted. It must be treated as an aggravating factor when sentencing, helping to ensure that terrorist offenders receive punishment befitting the severity of their offending and the risk that they pose to public safety. It will also result in offenders being subject to the registered terrorist offender notification requirements following their release from prison, which supports the police to manage their risk more effectively.

Finally, under the Bill, these offenders will be subject to a minimum of 12 months on licence following their release and will be eligible to have certain licence conditions imposed on them to assist in the effective management of their risk. I emphasise that both the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, and the Crown Prosecution Service expressed their strong support for this change. In fact, Mr Hall stated in his oral evidence to the Public Bill Committee in another place that this change, out of all the measures in the Bill, would make the most substantial difference to public safety.

Having set out the background, I will address the substance of the noble Lord’s amendment, which proposes a significant change to the process by which the courts in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, determine a terrorist connection at the point of sentencing. This process is well-established, having been in successful operation for more than a decade since the provisions of the Criminal Damage Act 1971 came into force. It is also consistent with the wider criminal justice system.

Under the existing process, courts are required to apply the criminal standard of proof—beyond reasonable doubt—when determining whether an offence has a terrorist connection. The court will make this determination on the basis of the usual information before it for the purposes of sentencing—that is, the trial evidence or evidence heard at a Newton hearing, if necessary, following a guilty plea—and take into account any representations by the prosecution or defence, as well as any evidence heard.

Furthermore, in England and Wales, and in Northern Ireland, it is the standard approach for the judge, rather than the jury, to determine the presence of aggravating factors as part of the sentencing function. To provide one example, Section 66 of the Sentencing Act 2020 requires the court to aggravate a sentence for an offence if it was motivated by hostility based on certain protected characteristics, such as race or sexual orientation. The judge will determine such a finding as part of the sentencing. The terrorist connection provision works in exactly the same way. This very issue was debated by your Lordships’ House in 2008, when the terrorist connection provisions were first enacted. It was concluded then that the existing process is appropriate and the reasons that I will now outline still stand.

During the passage of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, the then Government set out that, as part of their consultation on that Bill, they considered whether the determination of a terrorist connection should be made by the jury, rather than the judge at sentencing. That included discussing the option with experienced prosecutors in this area. It was concluded, however, that there were significant practical issues in taking that approach. For example, having to prove the terrorist connection as part of the trial would lead to lengthy diversions, were the defence to argue that the action of the suspect did not fall within the definition of terrorism. Such an approach would divert the prosecution from its primary aim to secure swift justice for the substantive offence—that is to say, securing a conviction or freeing the individual on trial—and would unnecessarily create significantly longer terrorism trials.

Alternatively, if the jury were to be responsible for determining whether there was a terrorist connection as part of a sentencing exercise after the trial, it would have to be summoned to make such a determination following a guilty plea. This would be entirely novel and run counter to well-established sentencing procedure. We therefore strongly believe that it would not be right to put it in the Bill. It was concluded then, as we maintain now, that sentencing is properly a function for the judge.

That is why the Government cannot accept the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Marks: it would impose unusual requirements on the finding of a terrorist connection, deviate significantly from well-established practice and, in doing so, put that process out of kilter with the courts’ considerations of other similar aggravating factors. The current system provides adequate safeguards against the erroneous finding of a terrorist connection. A judge who has determined that the offence was committed with a terrorist connection is required to state in open court that that is the case. That determination is capable of being appealed to the Court of Appeal. For the reasons outlined, despite the noble Lord being minded to do otherwise, I hope that he will see fit to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Portrait Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I heard what the noble Lord, Lord McCrea, said, and he seemed to accept that the aggravating factor should be proved to a court, on admissible evidence, to the criminal standard of proof. He did not answer the point that there ought to be a trial of the issue.

The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, had sympathy for the principles behind our amendment. He preferred the idea of a Newton hearing before a judge to the possibility of jury trial to determine a terrorist connection. That is a compromise position that is allowed for in my amendment, where the interests of justice require that there should not be a jury trial. The important thing is that this issue should be tried on evidence, not simply permission for there to be evidence, if the judge deciding the issue decides to have evidence; or, otherwise, that the court must listen to representations—that is submissions, which are necessarily partial.

The reason our amendment is framed in the way it is is that we believe in trial by jury. Since the aggravation of having a terrorist connection changes the whole nature of the offence, to have that issue tried by jury is, we say, consonant with our way of doing criminal justice and consonant with the way we have always conducted criminal trials.

The Minister suggested that this amendment represented a significant divergence from the criminal justice system. Most of his speech was, with respect, devoted to establishing that point. However, the Bill and much of the counterterrorist legislation of the last few years have involved such divergence. What is unique about the Bill is that the aggravating factor can raise a pretty commonplace offence into an offence of terrorism, with very severe consequences. I have heard nothing to answer the point that establishing that terrorist connection in a trial, on admissible evidence, before a jury or, in suitable cases, a judge, should be the way to proceed.

Nothing that I have heard from the Minister or the noble Lord, Lord McCrea, allowed for the possibility that an offender guilty of only the basic offence, but not guilty of committing an offence with a terrorist connection, would nevertheless be sentenced following a judge who heard only representations on the basis of the aggravated offence, with all the consequences that that would have. That is what runs counter to our criminal justice system.

Our point is limited and principled. The Government have made no concession to our principle at all. We say that there has to be a trial of the issue, not at the same time as the trial of the basic offence, but afterwards. To establish that principle, I wish to test the opinion of the House and have my voice heard when the voices are counted.

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Moved by
14: Clause 34, page 29, line 21, leave out “has reasonable grounds for suspecting” and insert “reasonably believes”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would change the proposed new test for the imposition of a terrorism prevention and investigation measure from one of reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorism-related activity to one of reasonable belief of such involvement.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, in moving Amendment 14, I will speak also to Amendment 22; both stand in the name of my noble friend Lord Wolfson of Tredegar. I will respond to the other amendments in this group at the end if the noble Lords in whose names they stand speak to them.

The Government have listened to the mood of your Lordships’ House as expressed in Committee, specifically the concerns of a number of noble Lords about lowering the standard of proof for imposing a TPIM to “reasonable grounds for suspecting” involvement in terrorism-related activity. The Government have reflected on those concerns and tabled these amendments. On behalf of my noble friends and myself, I thank all noble Lords who engaged with us since Committee as we did so.

Amendment 14 will lower the existing standard of proof for imposing a TPIM of “balance of probabilities” to “reasonable belief”. However, this is a higher standard of proof than originally proposed by the Bill, and a higher standard than was applied under the previous control order regime.

As a result of this amendment, the Home Secretary will need to “reasonably believe”, rather than hold “reasonable grounds for suspecting”, that an individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity before she can impose a TPIM. In practice, and as noted by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, in Committee, “reasonable belief” is closer to the current “balance of probabilities” standard than it is to “reasonable suspicion”. It is the standard that applied when TPIMs were first introduced in 2011 and the standard that is in place for other key tools used to counter terrorism, including proscription and asset-freezing orders.

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton Portrait Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Lab) [V]
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This is an incredibly important debate, because it goes very much to the heart of the views we take on what the Executive can do. It is anathema to our system that the Executive can impose restrictions on individual citizens on the basis of either the balance of probabilities or, worse, reasonable suspicion. Any restrictions placed must be justified, normally in a criminal court or, in the context of the current pandemic, by an exceptional event such as the pandemic.

All those who have engaged in this debate have accepted the need for some form of TPIM. On behalf of my party, I accept that too, but all our instincts should say that it should be on the most limited ground necessary at any point. I strongly opposed, as my party did, the idea that one can impose a TPIM on the grounds of suspicion alone and welcome Amendment 14, in which the Government reject that approach and go for a situation where the Minister “reasonably believes” that the person has been engaged in terrorist activity. The difference between “reasonably believes” and “balance of probabilities” seems in practice quite difficult to define; the Minister has to believe that the person has been engaged in terrorist activity and he or she must have reasonable grounds for believing so. What is the difference between having reasonable grounds on one hand and believing it on the balance of probabilities on the other, when the person who will test that is the courts? I think it is quite fine, but we will support government Amendment 14. I am grateful that they have listened; it is a very significant shift. The difference between honestly and reasonably believing something and suspicion is significant.

I am very disappointed that the Government persist in the idea that, once you have the basis for a TPIM, you can roll it over indefinitely. As various noble Lords have pointed out, the inclination of the Executive will be to roll these things over without further evidence. Therefore, we on this side of the House will also support Amendment 16.

Four years is a long time, longer than allowed at present and, what is more, the four years can be extended if new evidence emerges during that four-year period. We think there should be a limit on when a TPIM can be granted, where there is evidence for it. We would need new evidence to extend it beyond the four years. We think that four years is a long time, but we recognise that if the House backs this four years, that is the basis for a compromise we very much hope the Government will accept.

Amendment 22 would compel the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation to conduct an annual review in relation to TPIMs. I think that is right. I agree with everybody who has said that the independent reviewer has to be properly resourced to do it. This is such an exceptional power that I think it is right that the independent reviewer should look at it every year.

On the proposition that there needs to be a limit on the period of restriction that is required in a particular home, because the power is going to be amended to remove the reference to “overnight”, the Government have given assurances that there will be such a limit, because of the courts’ imposition of limits to ensure that nobody is imprisoned in their house for 24 hours a day, which is what the noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, said the consequences of the section would be. That is not my understanding, legally, of the consequence of the removal of “overnight”, but I would like the Minister to repeat that assurance and also to say that if the court protection went, the Government would come back to ensure that it could not involve 24-hour imprisonment, in effect, in a particular house.

These are exceptional powers. Our role in this House is to ensure that they are subject to specific limits. I think the combination of government Amendment 14, Amendment 16, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and government Amendment 22, which would compel an annual review, is a workable compromise. I am very disappointed that the Government are not accepting it at the moment.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, before I turn to the amendments to which I have not yet spoken, I will address a question from the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, on government Amendment 22, about the requirement for the independent reviewer to produce an annual report every year for the next five years. She is right to say that the independence of the independent reviewer means that he could, if he so wished, provide such a review, but we want to ensure that he does so, because of the changes that are being made by the Bill. We, like a number of noble Lords who cited his work and that of his predecessors, find them useful and would find it useful to receive them over the next five years. We do not think that is unduly burdensome, as the noble Baroness suggested it might be. Indeed, that is evidenced by the support of the current independent reviewer, Jonathan Hall, for the amendment. I hope that that reassures her on that point.

I turn to the amendments. Amendment 15, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would remove Clause 34 in its entirety, and in doing so prevent the Government lowering the standard of proof for imposing a TPIM to “reasonable belief” of involvement in terrorism-related activity. As I set out earlier, the Government have listened to the concerns raised in Committee and brought forward a compromise, by lowering the standard of proof to a lesser extent than originally envisaged; namely, “reasonable belief” instead of “reasonable grounds for suspecting”. We are confident that this approach represents an appropriate middle ground, one that ensures we are taking action to protect the public from an evolving and more diverse terrorist threat, while addressing the concerns that were expressed in Committee. Of course, “reasonable belief” is a standard which has been used in the past, having first been introduced in 2011 by the coalition Government, which included the Liberal Democrats as well as my own party.

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Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V]
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The Minister just referred to the number of hours in the day for which the restriction may apply. Why have the Government decided, assuming that the decision is positive, not to include in the Bill a total limit per day? He referred to Article 5 but would it have been more convenient for the Government, let alone TPIM subjects—the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, had a good deal to say about the problems of pursuing applications to the court—not to allow the prospect of getting caught up in proceedings challenging the total number of hours?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, the simple answer for not including that in the Bill is that we do not think that it is necessary to do so. The case law exists and has established that in practice the residence measure placed on a TPIM subject could not likely exceed 16 hours a day without constituting an unlawful deprivation of their liberty. However, measures are imposed and tested in the courts on a case-by-case basis, and that is the appropriate way to proceed.

Amendment 14 agreed.
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Lord Falconer of Thoroton Portrait Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, the effect of the Bill at the moment is that a condition of a TPIM can be that the subject takes a polygraph test, and that a failure to do that could be a breach of the TPIM’s provisions. Amendment 21 raises the question of whether that should be part of a potential TPIM. In answering that question, it is important to try to find out what the Government have in mind regarding the use of that provision. First, to what extent do they regard polygraph answers as reliable? There is a general view that they cannot be taken on their own. What is the Government’s view on that?

Secondly, will the Government introduce a code of practice, as envisaged by Amendment 19? If so, could they give some indication of what that would contain? In particular, would it be based on the American Polygraph Association’s code of practice?

Thirdly, in December 2020 Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service announced that it would be seeking a long-term commercial partner to deliver polygraph equipment, training and support services for the sum of £2 million. When this was announced by the Government, it was noted that any partners must provide training to the standard approved by the American Polygraph Association, which is a trade body. Can the Minister give an indication of how that is going?

Will the Minister confirm that the Government will not act solely on the basis of any physiological reaction of the individual while being questioned in the course of a polygraph examination, and that the effect of a “significant reaction” in a polygraph examination will simply lead to further inquiries being made?

There has been, over quite a long time, a legitimate—in the sense of authorised by legislation—use by the Home Office of polygraph tests in relation to sexual offenders. According to Home Office figures, over the last five years 5,228 mandatory polygraph examinations have been carried out on 2,249 sexual offenders. Will the Minister describe to the House what benefit has been obtained from this and the basis of any assertions of that benefit?

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, the three amendments in this group stand in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. Amendment 19 would oblige the Secretary of State to publish a code of practice on the conduct of, and use of results from, polygraph examinations, with a requirement to consult appropriate parties on the code before its publication.

We think that such an amendment is not necessary, since equivalent provision is already made by new paragraph 10ZA, which Clause 38 of the Bill will insert into Schedule 1 of the TPIM Act 2011. As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, noted, Clause 38 includes a regulation-making provision for the conduct of TPIM polygraph examinations. The new polygraph measure will not be used within the TPIM regime unless and until such regulations have been made.

These regulations are expected to include detail on, for example, the qualifications and experience needed by polygraph operators; how records of the polygraph examinations should be kept; and how reports on the results of the examinations should be prepared. This will ensure transparency in how the polygraph measure in the TPIM regime will be applied in practice.

This approach follows the practice already established by the Ministry of Justice, which has set out its use of the polygraph in licence conditions of sex offenders in the Polygraph Rules 2009. Parliament will have the opportunity to scrutinise these future regulations and they will, of course, be subject to annulment by your Lordships’ House or the other place. As such, we believe that Amendment 19 is unnecessary, and I urge the noble Baroness to withdraw it, as she indicated she might.

Amendment 20 seeks to prohibit the extension of a TPIM notice on the basis of information derived from a polygraph test. Again, we do not think this is necessary. Clause 38 specifies the purposes for which the Home Secretary may impose a requirement on an individual subject to a TPIM notice to participate in polygraph examinations. These are, first,

“monitoring the individual’s compliance with other specified measures”

and secondly,

“assessing whether any variation of the specified measures is necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity”.

The reference in new heading (ii) to

“variation of the specified measures”

means variation of the measures set out in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act 2011, and the duration of the TPIM is not one of those measures. Extension of the TPIM for a further year can be done only by relying on the power in Section 5 of that Act, not by way of varying measures. Therefore, any attempt to use information derived from a polygraph examination to extend the duration of a TPIM notice would be unlawful. I hope that provides some assurance to the noble Lords and that they will therefore be willing not to press Amendment 20.

Finally, Amendment 21 would remove the addition of a polygraph measure to Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act 2011 entirely. The Government cannot accept that. Adding a polygraph measure to Schedule 1, where the measure is assessed to be necessary and proportionate, will help our operational partners to assess an individual’s compliance with his or her TPIM notice. This might include being asked whether engagement with rehabilitation programmes is genuine or whether someone is, for instance, meeting prohibited associates. The insights gained from a polygraph examination will support decision-making on whether the TPIM notice should be varied, including the relaxation of measures or further restrictions.

The polygraph measure will not be mandatory for all TPIM subjects. It will be used sparingly and only where necessary and proportionate to restrict a subject’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. Whether it is judged necessary will be determined by the Security Service on a case-by-case basis and a recommendation will be made to the Home Secretary.

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Moved by
22: After Clause 40, insert the following new Clause—
“TPIMs: annual review
(1) In section 20 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (reviews of the operation of that Act)—(a) after subsection (1) insert—“(1A) The independent reviewer must carry out a review under this section in respect of each calendar year starting with 2022 and ending with 2026.Each review must be completed as soon as reasonably practicable after the year to which it relates.”;(b) in subsection (2), after “calendar year” insert “after 2026”;(c) in subsection (4), for “subsection (2)” substitute “this section”;(d) after subsection (6) insert—“(7) Subsection (1A) does not require a review to be carried out in respect of any calendar year during the whole of which the Secretary of State’s TPIM powers (within the meaning given by section 21(8)) do not exist because of their expiry or repeal under section 21.”(2) Subsection (1) does not affect any duty to carry out a review further to a notification given under section 20(2) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 before the coming into force of this section.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would reinstate the requirement for an annual review of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 by an independent reviewer for a period of five years beginning with 2022 (with reviews at the discretion of the reviewer after that period).
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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, this has been an extremely brief debate and quite a blunt one. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, was very clear: during the passage of a previous Counter-Terrorism Act this House voted for a deadline and this current legislation is seeking to remove it. The Government commissioned an independent review back in January 2019, which has been repeatedly delayed and postponed, and the initial statutory deadline of 12 August 2020 will now be missed. The Government have said that they intend to have a report ready by summer 2021. Indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, said, he has been very generous by putting in his amendments a deadline of the end of this current calendar year.

In the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, to this short debate I noted a tone of exasperation, and I do not blame him or the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for using such a tone. I really do not see why the Government cannot reaffirm their commitment to a deadline and I will be very interested to hear the Minister’s response to both noble Lords.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, this amendment, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, would add a new statutory deadline of 31 December this year for the completion of the independent review of Prevent. I am happy to say once again that we share the noble Lord’s and noble Baroness’s commitment to a successful independent review and the opportunity that it provides to learn lessons from what is and is not working—as well as to listen to a wide range of voices about how best to safeguard those who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

The review restarted on 26 January, with the appointment of William Shawcross as the new independent reviewer. As I undertook to do in Committee, I am pleased to say that my noble friend Lady Williams of Trafford has had a conversation with Mr Shawcross about the timescale for his review. He certainly agrees with the need to complete it as swiftly as possible, while affording it the consideration that it requires. He hopes to complete his work well before the end of 2021, and of course there will then need to be time for a government response to be prepared and laid before Parliament. However, it is out intention to set out the date of his report and, indeed, the Government’s response in the revised terms of reference, when they are published shortly.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, referred to the remarks of my right honourable friend James Brokenshire, made in his first stint as Security Minister, about government responses being swift and timely. I hope the greatest reassurance to the noble Lord is the fact that my right honourable friend is back in that important post, albeit currently recuperating from his operation, from which we all wish him a speedy recovery. I am sure his remarks then stand now, as they do for my noble friend Lady Williams of Trafford, who is covering while he recuperates.

We all agree that it is necessary to have a thorough, evidence-based review that engages communities and sees Prevent delivery in action and that has practical recommendations for improvement at the end of it. We fear that, at a time when fleetness of foot is vital, a statutory deadline could limit this. We referred in Committee to the ongoing pandemic; alas, it continues now we are on Report, and I hope noble Lords will all be mindful of the need for flexibility in light of it.

Mr Shawcross is keen to proceed at pace, as I say, but reintroducing a statutory deadline for the completion of his independent review would mean that, if he encountered a challenge to his timeline because of the pandemic, we would have to revisit the legislation or he might be forced to compromise in how he meets his objectives. Of course, we hope that there will not be any difficulties, but there remains a risk of further or ongoing restrictions, with all the unpredictabilities of the pandemic and the implications that that could have for Mr Shawcross, his team and those who wish to provide their input into the review. As such, we think that that remains sensible.

We believe that it is achievable for Mr Shawcross to complete his work quickly, while undertaking a thorough and robust piece of work—but it is important for the legislation to retain the flexibility for the reviewer, should he need it, to ensure that the valuable work of his review is not undermined. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, will agree and, therefore, withdraw his amendment.

Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Anderson of Ipswich and Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, for their support for this amendment. The frustration that I and the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, expressed about the Government’s tardiness in reporting to Parliament on these issues has been reinforced by what the Minister has just said.

Not only has the Minister now turned away from what he said in Committee—that the Government anticipated that the report would be complete by the autumn—but he is now saying, “Of course, but then the Government will need time to respond to it.” This is absolutely the reason why we wanted this amendment in the Bill, and the Minister is showing complete contempt for what the noble Lords, Lord Anderson and Lord Ponsonby, and I have been saying.

I am sorely tempted to divide the House on this, simply to make the point. However, bearing in mind the time, I will reluctantly beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay

Main Page: Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative - Life peer)

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Excerpts
Moved by
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
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That this House do not insist on its Amendment 18 and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments 18A, 18B, 18C, 18D and 18E in lieu.

18A: Page 35, line 3, leave out “one or more” and insert “up to four”
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18E: Page 35, line 16, leave out “omit subsection (3)” and insert “for subsection (3) substitute—
“(3) The replacement TPIM notice is to be treated as having been extended under section 5(2) on the same number of occasions (if any) as on which the overturned notice had been so extended (including any extension that was quashed).””
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I beg to move Motion A. Commons Amendments 18A to 18E, tabled by Her Majesty’s Government in lieu of your Lordships’ Amendment 18, would set a new upper limit of five years on the duration of a TPIM, in contrast to the four years proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich.

As I said on Report, the Government are pleased that your Lordships’ House has acknowledged the inadequacies of the current two-year time limit. On more than one occasion, it has resulted in a cliff edge, leaving dangerous individuals in the community without suitable risk management measures in place while a new TPIM was prepared.

We do not share the concerns that were raised in respect of the Bill’s original proposal to enable TPIMs to be renewed for as long as is necessary for public protection, which included lessening the incentive to prosecute subjects or the risk of individuals being warehoused. None the less, we recognise the clear strength of feeling expressed by your Lordships’ House that TPIMs should have a finite limit.

The Government believe that a five-year limit would be more effective than a four-year limit in supporting our operational partners’ efforts to manage the enduring risk that some subjects pose. This reflects our experience of operating the TPIM regime, as well as historical experience from control orders. As I have set out previously, during the lifespan of the control order regime, there were three individuals who were sufficiently dangerous to be subject to an order for between four and five years.

As well as further reducing the prospect of a cliff edge when the measure comes to an end, a five-year limit will also ensure that the other benefits of a TPIM can be maximised, including providing more time to rehabilitate the individual and, if necessary, identify alternative risk-management and disruption options. In cases of charismatic radicalisers, it will also provide additional time to degrade their networks and reduce the wider threat from others who may have been influenced by the subject, were it not for the TPIM measures.

I emphasise that it will not become routine practice for TPIMs to last five years. The Home Secretary will not hesitate to revoke a TPIM notice, to remove measures specified within the notice or to choose not to renew the notice when it is no longer necessary or proportionate. As we have discussed in detail, TPIMs will continue to be subject to regular scrutiny, including through quarterly and annual review meetings, and the judicial oversight that your Lordships have heard about will continue to be in place, providing for another layer of independent scrutiny.

Motion A1 (as an amendment to Motion A)

Moved by
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Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Portrait Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, at Second Reading, I made the point that it is very important that we restate the arguments for these draconian measures. I took the opportunity of talking to my son and others of his generation of young people in their early 20s about these measures which we take in our country. We had an interesting discussion about the proportionality of this and the right of a state to protect itself from potential terrorism. It is right that these arguments are revisited, as they are every year. It is a tribute to this House that many of the Peers who have taken part in these debates have a long-standing involvement in these issues—unlike me. It is, nevertheless, important that these arguments are remade, as they have been.

I too thank the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, for their engagement; it was an interesting process. They also made it possible for me and other noble Lords to meet some of the experts in the Home Office who are dealing with these issues on a day-to-day basis. It was certainly instructive to meet the psychiatrists and psychologists who are involved in the various programmes that take place in prison and look at how TPIMs are managed outside prisons.

I also acknowledge that the Minister has made a concession in time-limiting TPIMs to five years. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, put the point well—as she always does—about the principle of having a time limit rather than the issue running on indefinitely. My noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton, who was responsible for the introduction of the original control orders in 2005, has changed his view on this, in light of the change in circumstances and the growing learning of how to handle people who are potentially very dangerous. Although the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, proposed four years, we of course accept the Minister’s counterproposal of a five-year limit.

I conclude by paying tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Anderson. He has led us on this, in some ways, supported by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, who also has tremendous experience in this area. If I were to direct my son to read a speech, it would be the final one from the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, which is a very good summary of the situation we have arrived at and the considerations we have made in reaching this compromise.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords for their thoughtful contributions to the debate today and, indeed, throughout the Bill’s passage through your Lordships’ House. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, said, we have had some very civilised debates about some very important issues of civil liberties, and we are grateful for the tone in which they have been conducted, as well as for the points that they have covered. Noble Lords asked a few questions which I shall cover briefly.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, while this may not be the time to open the debate about rehabilitation, asked about rehabilitative measures. We have seen, under the current two-year time limit, the problem of TPIM subjects riding out their maximum two years without changing their extremist mindset and with an unwillingness to engage with rehabilitative measures. This is an issue that has been reported on by a former independent reviewer. This change will, we think, create a genuine incentive for the subject to demonstrate that they have rehabilitated themselves and that extending the TPIM notice is not necessary.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, raised the latest annual report by the current independent reviewer, Jonathan Hall, and some of the points he has recommended. He is right that the response will be considered and published in full in the usual way, but let me address the points he raised. On reviewing the case for prosecution, we welcome Mr Hall’s recommendation that the case for prosecution should be kept under review. The Government have been clear throughout the passage of the Bill that prosecution is our preferred option and the best way to manage risk. As has been noted through our debates on the Bill, TPIMs are resource-intensive tools and often an option of last resort. Before a TPIM is imposed, Section 10 of the TPIM Act first requires that confirmation be provided by a senior police officer that there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution and, under Section 11, the Government “must keep under review” the necessity and proportionality of all TPIM notices. A key consideration at all TPIM review group meetings is whether there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution for terrorism-related activity or the breach of a TPIM measure.