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Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 18 December 2014

The Government are today publishing for public consultation a number of documents relating to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. These are:

A draft code of practice for officers exercising functions under what will become schedule 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in connection with seizing and retaining travel documents.

Draft guidance relating to the duty under what will become chapter 1 of part 5 of the Bill for named authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people from

A draft revised code of practice for examining officers who exercise port and border controls under schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 to examine goods.

A consultation on the proposed Privacy and Civil Liberties Board under clause 36 of the Bill.

The first consultation document seeks responses to a draft code of practice on the proposed powers under schedule 1 of the Bill to seize and retain travel documents temporarily at a port where there is reasonable suspicion that the person is travelling for the purpose of involvement in terrorism-related activity outside the United Kingdom. The responses to this consultation will inform the development of the code to ensure that the power is exercised appropriately and effectively.

The Bill proposes to place a duty on named authorities to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. The provisions in the legislation allow the Secretary of State to issue guidance to specified authorities about discharging their duty. The draft guidance sets out the type of activity we expect specified authorities to consider when complying with the duty. It has sections on each of the sectors under the duty, which aims to give sufficient detail for specified authorities to have clarity about the types of activity they need to consider when complying with the duty, while allowing for local differences and innovation.

Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 (schedule T) allows an examining officer, normally a special branch police officer, to examine goods to determine whether they have been used in commission, preparation of instigation of acts of terrorism. Clause 35 and schedule 5 of the Bill include amendments to schedule 7 and other legislation, which would clarify the legal position in relation to where goods may be examined and the examination of goods which comprise items of post. We are consulting on a draft revised code of practice for examining officers who exercise schedule 7 powers at ports and the border, which reflects changes that would be made to the code should these provisions receive Royal Assent.

Clause 36 of the Bill provides the Home Secretary with a power to create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. The board will support and provide extra capability to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in delivering robust independent scrutiny and oversight to UK counter-terrorism legislation. This is an important area and any changes to existing arrangements must be carefully considered. This consultation therefore invites comments on the proposals and provides an opportunity for all interested parties to influence key elements of the board, including its composition and functions. We will carefully consider the outcome of the consultation before bringing forward regulations to set out the detailed arrangements of the board.

Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library.