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Control Order Powers

Volume 525: debated on Thursday 17 March 2011

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

The future of the control order regime

On 26 January 2011 I made a statement to Parliament setting out the Government’s intention to replace control orders with a less intrusive and more targeted regime of terrorism prevention and investigation measures. Legislation to achieve this will be introduced in due course. Additional resources for covert investigative techniques will be made available to complement the new system. The full control order regime will continue to operate until the replacement measures are in force. I have now renewed the powers in the 2005 Act until 31 December 2011, following the debates in the House of Commons on 2 March and in the House of Lords on 8 March.

The exercise of the control order powers in the last quarter

As explained in previous quarterly statements, control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the terrorism-related risk that individual poses. Each control order is kept under regular review to ensure that the obligations remain necessary and proportionate. The Home Office continues to hold control order review groups (CORGs) every quarter, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular and formal review and to facilitate a review of appropriate exit strategies. During the reporting period, no CORGs were held in relation to the orders in force at the time. This is because meetings were held just before, and are due to be held just after, the reporting period. Other meetings were held on an ad hoc basis as specific issues arose.

During the period 11 December 2010 to 10 March 2011, two non-derogating control orders were made, with the permission of the court, and served. One non-derogating control order was made, with the permission of the court, and revoked without ever being served following the identification of an administrative error. A further non-derogating control order was made in respect of the same individual, with the permission of the court, but was not served during the reporting period. Two control orders have been renewed in accordance with section 2(6) of the 2005 Act in this reporting period.

In total, as of 10 March, there were 10 control orders in force, all of which were in respect of British citizens. All of these control orders were non-derogating. Three individuals subject to a control order were living in the Metropolitan Police Service area; the remaining individuals were living in other police force areas.

One set of criminal proceedings for breach of a control order was concluded during this reporting period following a CPS decision that prosecution was no longer in the public interest.

During this reporting period, 53 modifications of control order obligations were made; 21 requests to modify control order obligations were refused.

Section 10(1) of the 2005 Act provides a right of appeal against a decision by the Secretary of State to renew a non-derogating control order or to modify an obligation imposed by a non-derogating control order without consent. No appeals have been lodged with the High Court during this reporting period under section 10(1) of the 2005 Act. A right of appeal is also provided by section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against a decision by the Secretary of State to refuse a request by a controlled person to revoke their order or to modify any obligation under their order. During this reporting period two appeals were lodged with the High Court under section 10(3) of the 2005 Act. In one of these appeals, an interlocutory application for an injunction was also made, seeking an order staying the effect of the modification until a full hearing had taken place and judgment handed down.

One court order was made in relation to proceedings under section 10(1) of the 2005 Act during this reporting period. On 8 March 2011 the court dismissed BH’s appeal against the renewal of his control order but allowed it in so far as it related to obligations imposed by the order. The obligations were modified by agreement between the parties and annexed to the court order.

On 10 March 2011 an oral judgment was handed down in relation to the injunction application referred to above. The injunction was refused and directions were set for an expedited appeal.