Klein Hamilton News

Terrorism laws: 'Time is right' for new police powers

Written By - Channon Sharples - November 25,2014

Police and security services will get new powers as the UK faces a terror threat "perhaps greater than it has ever been", the home secretary says.

Unveiling a new counter-terrorism bill, Theresa May said the UK faced a security struggle "on many fronts".

Schools, universities and councils will be required to take steps to counter radicalisation.

Internet providers will have to retain Internet Protocol address data to identify individual users.

Speaking at a counter-terrorism event in London, Mrs May told an audience "the time is right" for enhanced security measures.

She spelled out the scale of the threat to the UK, specifying that 40 planned terror attacks had been foiled since the 7 July bombings in London in 2005.

The terror threat level in Britain was raised from "substantial" to "severe" earlier this year in response to conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

The new legislation includes:

Counter-radicalisation measures - requirements that schools, colleges and probation providers help prevent people being radicalised

Changes to TPIMs - Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures - to allow the authorities to force suspects to move to another part of the country

Raising the burden of proof for imposing TPIMs from "reasonable belief" to "balance of probabilities"

Greater powers to disrupt people heading abroad to fight - including cancelling passports at the border for up to 30 days

Statutory temporary exclusion orders to control return to the UK of British citizens suspected of terrorist activity

Tighter aviation security - requiring airlines to provide passenger data more quickly and effectively

Banning insurance companies from covering ransoms

Forcing firms to hand details to police identifying who was using a computer or mobile phone at a given time.

But Mrs May warned that even the new powers in the bill would not fully address what she called a "capability gap" in the authorities' ability to monitor online communications.

She said: "Unfortunately, there is no agreement in the coalition - or for that matter with the opposition - about the need for the Communications Data Bill.

"We are going to have to wait until after the general election to address fully this increasingly urgent problem. "

She added that she remained "passionately convinced" police need access to more information about who is saying what online, in order to combat organised crime and networks of child abusers and terrorism.