Committee (2nd Day)
16: After Clause 31, insert the following new Clause—
“Review of sections 1 to 31
(1) The Secretary of State must arrange for an independent review of the impact of sections 1 to 31 of this Act to be carried out in relation to the initial one-year period.(2) The Secretary of State must, after consultation with the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, appoint a person with professional experience relating to imprisonment for offences of terrorism to conduct the review. (3) The review under subsection (1) must consider but is not limited to considering any evidence as to any effects of this Act—(a) by the imposition of longer prison sentences upon the reform or rehabilitation of those offenders on whom they are imposed;(b) upon the reform or rehabilitation of those offenders required to serve a greater proportion of their sentences in prison and a correspondingly smaller proportion on licence;(c) upon the radicalisation of prisoners other than those upon whom longer prison sentences are imposed or who are required to serve a greater proportion of their sentences in prison;(d) on the degree to which those prisoners upon whom a serious terrorist sentence is imposed are segregated from other prisoners.(4) The review must be completed as soon as practicable after the end of the initial one-year period.(5) As soon as practicable after a person has carried out the review in relation to a particular period, the person must—(a) produce a report of the outcome of the review, and(b) send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State.(6) The Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a copy of the report under subsection (5)(b) within one month of receiving the report.(7) In this section, “initial one-year period” means the period of one year beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”Member’s explanatory statement
This Clause would require an independent review of the impact of sections 1 to 31 of the Act after one year, with particular attention to radicalisation in prisons and the effects of longer periods of imprisonment on reform and rehabilitation and radicalisation in prisons and of segregating serious terrorist offenders.
My Lords, by the amendments in this group noble Lords from around the House seek reviews of the impact of this legislation on the operation of our criminal justice system. Such reviews would consider: how we are dealing with terrorist offences, including the effects on the Prison and Probation Service and, in particular, the effects on prison capacity; the financial impact of the legislation; and the effect of the legislation on Northern Ireland.
The very fact that so many noble Lords seek such reviews, each with different emphases, demonstrates that however much the Bill’s provisions may chime with the prevailing public mood, for many of us they nevertheless cause uncertainty and misgivings. While we all recognise that terrorism must be dealt with extremely severely, on any view the Bill provides for radically harsher sentencing than we have had before. I suspect that the Minister and the Government recognise that this approach is not risk-free.
I shall concentrate on the review called for in the amendment in my name and the names of my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lord Paddick. Our amendment is concerned with Part 1 of the Bill. To remind ourselves briefly of the ground we covered on day one in Committee, Part 1 deals first with sentences for what I might call ordinary criminal offences, punishable by two or more years’ imprisonment but aggravated by a terrorist connection; then, with serious terrorism offences and minimum custodial terms for offenders; with increased extended sentences for specified violent offences; and with other special custodial sentences for offenders of particular concern. The common threads running through all these provisions are, first, that judges’ discretion to impose more lenient sentences than prescribed in the legislation is considerably limited and, secondly, that terrorist offenders will generally spend much longer in prison than has been the case to date.
The review called for by our amendment is to be concerned, first, with the effect of the imposition of longer prison sentences on the reform and rehabilitation of those who serve them; secondly, with the likely outcome that longer sentences will mean offenders spending a greater proportion of them in custody and a lower proportion on licence; thirdly, with the radicalisation of other prisoners by those who will now spend far longer in custody and may have the dangerous potential to radicalise others who come into contact with them while in prison; and finally, on the segregation of serious terrorist prisoners serving these very long sentences. I make no apology for the fact that Liberal Democrats start from the position that while punishment plays an extremely important part in sentencing and that the more serious the offence the greater the punishment element in any sentence, nevertheless reform and rehabilitation, even in very long sentences, is a central purpose of sentencing.
Hope of reform and rehabilitation should motivate all who work within the system, as well as society at large. That belief is in our DNA. We do not believe that we should give up on serious offenders, even terrorist offenders. Nor do we accept that the lives of at least some among those whom we punish cannot ultimately be turned around.
Importantly, the review we seek calls for a person with professional experience of imprisonment for terrorist offences to be appointed by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. It was therefore heartening to note that on 25 January Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer, issued a statement saying that he had decided to review the subject of terrorism in the prison estate in England and Wales as part of his annual review of the terrorism Acts. His statement said that he was particularly interested in criminal behaviour which effectively encourages terrorism within prisons, in the status and influence of terrorist prisoners within them, in any connection to prison gangs, and in how to secure evidence of terrorist offences or terrorism-related activity in prisons. He is clear that his focus will be on terrorism because there is, he says, considerable literature already on radicalisation and extremism in prisons. Nevertheless, I would be surprised if he did not feel driven to consider, as part and parcel of considering terrorist activity within prisons, the question of radicalisation and extremism, and its effect on the prison population as a whole. Inevitably, he will also consider how to achieve reform and rehabilitation for as many terrorist offenders as possible.
One of any reviewer’s main starting points will be the work and findings of the 2016 Acheson review of Islamist extremism in prisons, probation and youth justice, the recommendations of which many noble Lords mentioned earlier in the passage of the Bill. In setting out the context of his review, Ian Acheson wrote:
“Islamist ideology can present itself in prisons as a struggle for power and dominance in which perceived weaknesses are exploited by a gang culture which threatens or undermines legitimate authority and security”
and that Islamic extremism
“should therefore be a greater and more visible priority for NOMS, led by people with the time and resource to act swiftly and with authority.”
I make no apology for concentrating on Islamic extremism in the context of the type of terrorism that this country, and many others, have faced in recent years.
Perhaps the most significant of that report’s recommendations was that those few extremists who presented what Acheson called
“a particular and enduring risk to national security through subversive behaviour, beliefs and activities”
should be segregated in specialist units, where they would be given “effective deradicalization” programmes. It has been very disappointing that although the Government accepted this recommendation, as they did nearly all the Acheson recommendations, there has been so little action. When I have asked Ministers about this failure of promised implementation, I am afraid that the responses have been defensive or, worse, complacent.
In the wake of the London Bridge attack by Usman Khan on 1 December 2019, Professor Acheson wrote in the Times:
“I have evidence that the separation centres that I recommended be established to incapacitate those posing most risk are not filling up because of institutional timidity to deal with a terrorist threat that is more acute than senior officials want to admit.”
He then said that
“I remain deeply unconvinced that this service has the corporate leadership, competence or will to deal with terrorist offenders. I’m not sure any tangible progress has been made since my review concluded three years ago.”
My concern is that since the disastrous attacks in 2019, the Government have been so focused on tougher sentencing that other aims, just as important or even more so, have been sidelined.
We should not forget four further recommendations of the Acheson review:
“systematic recording of the promotion of extremist beliefs and threats of violence to staff, with tougher sanctions … suitable training provided for staff … tackling the availability and source of extremist literature … improved capacity for responding swiftly to serious violent incidents, with … improved coordination with the police”.
For all that this report was hard-headed—unsurprising from a former prison governor and expert in counterterrorism—it was still focused on deradicalisation, reform and rehabilitation. It still attributed great importance to the involvement of the probation service.
The significance of this approach is quite simply this: in the light of appalling attacks, the public and this Government demand tougher sentences for terrorists. They may be justified, but the importance of reviewing the impact of Part 1 of this legislation in just over a year’s time is to highlight the continuing need to deal better with extremism and terrorist offenders, both within prisons and on licence. But tougher sentencing alone can never provide a complete answer or anything like it. Our approach must be subtler, more principled, better organised and a great deal more sophisticated.
My Lords, I make a short intervention to support the amendment so ably moved by the noble Lord, Lord Marks; it is carefully put and more than adequate. I support it because it is important that a close look is had into the workings of these important sections. One year should be sufficient, with the emphasis on consultation, which is vital to get an independent reviewer to take the temperature of how the Act is working.
In my many visits to prisons in my professional career, I was deeply aware of how prisoners live cheek by jowl. Particularly in the absence of other subjects of conversation, I would have thought, as a lay man, that prisons were fertile ground for radicalisation. It goes without saying that expert advice is needed. We are considering longer sentences, reform and rehabilitation, radicalisation and segregation—all vital subjects—and we should look at how the Act is working. With those few words, it is a pleasure to commend the amendment.
My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames has outlined, our Amendment 16 in this group calls for a review of the impacts of Part 1of the Bill. Why is such a review needed? The Explanatory Notes to the Bill describe its purpose as being to better protect the public from terrorism, effectively by two main means: ensuring that serious and dangerous terrorist offenders spend longer in custody, and supporting their disengagement from extremism and their rehabilitation.
I am pleased to note there is no longer any pretence that longer sentences act as a deterrent to terrorist offenders. There was no such claim from the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, either, when he introduced the Bill to this House on Second Reading. That will save some time.
The two premises on which the Bill is based appear to be these: that the public are better protected from terrorists if terrorist offenders are in prison longer; and that a range of tailored interventions while they are in prison will lead to their disengagement from extremism and their rehabilitation. In short, the longer they are in prison, the less likely they are to pose a threat to the public and the more time is available to deradicalise and rehabilitate them.
The first and most obvious problem with the first premise is that you cannot detain every suspected terrorist for the rest of their lives, despite the Government’s attempts in this Bill to achieve exactly that for some terrorist offenders. With an increasing number of exceptions were this Bill to be passed unamended, you cannot normally lock up suspected terrorists indefinitely or so curtail their freedoms as to effectively deprive them of their liberty indefinitely. We will come to the indefinite deprivation of liberty without charge or trial when we come to the changes to the terrorism prevention and investigation measures.
The Government’s current Prevent strategy, at paragraph 3.5, says that
“radicalisation is driven by an ideology which sanctions the use of violence; by propagandists for that ideology here and overseas; and by personal vulnerabilities and specific local factors which, for a range of reasons, make that ideology seem both attractive and compelling.”
Such propagandists exist in our prisons. The Government’s argument that the longer someone is in prison, the more time there is to support their disengagement and rehabilitation can also work against their deradicalisation and rehabilitation.
First, it provides more time for them to be radicalised, or further radicalised, by propagandists in prison. There is clear evidence that this is happening. On 25 January, the Times reports the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, as saying that there was an increasing “drumbeat” of links between prison and terror attacks, with offenders not being properly punished for owning radical material, preaching extremism and inciting violence. The Times notes that the man given a whole life sentence last month for murdering three men in a park in Reading in a terror attack last year was befriended by a radical preacher while serving an earlier prison sentence. Secondly, if these vulnerable people believe that the sanctions imposed on them are disproportionate, or that the system that led to their imprisonment was unfair, the ideology promulgated by these propagandists is made to appear even more attractive and compelling.
No one would argue against a proportionate sentence of imprisonment for someone convicted in a court of law of a terrorist offence, as my noble friend Lord Marks has just said, or that, for a limited time, a suspected terrorist who is believed to present a real and immediate threat should not have their liberty to carry out a terrorist attack prevented while evidence is gathered upon which to base a trial in a court of law. However, paragraph 3.6 of the same Prevent strategy says:
“There is evidence to indicate that support for terrorism is associated with rejection of a cohesive, integrated, multi-faith society and of parliamentary democracy. Work to deal with radicalisation will depend on developing a sense of belonging to this country and support for our core values.”
Disproportionately long sentences of imprisonment and indefinite deprivation of liberty without charge or trial would reinforce this rejection of our cohesive, integrated, multifaith society and parliamentary democracy. They would undermine any sense of belonging to this country and any support for our core values. Indeed, they begin to call into question some of our core values.
What evidence is there that it is easier to develop a sense of belonging to this country and support for our core values while someone is in prison, compared with when they are on licence in the community? The Times article I quoted previously reports the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation as saying that encouraging and inciting terrorism were being
“successfully combated in the community”,
unlike the failure to address these issues in prison. Although he is to conduct a review of what is happening in prisons, it appears to be limited to examining how terrorism is detected, disrupted and prosecuted behind bars and whether improvements can be made, rather than the comprehensive review called for in our amendment.
For all these reasons, there is serious doubt whether Part 1 of the Bill will achieve what the Government intend by it; therefore, our Amendment 16 is necessary. Other amendments in this group call for a review of the financial impact of the Bill and the impact on the prison population, both of which could hamper the effectiveness of any deradicalisation or rehabilitation strategy and any attempt to prevent radicalisation or further radicalisation in prison. Reviews are called for on the specific impact of the Bill in Northern Ireland and on the National Probation Service, and we support these amendments as well.
My Lords, we have had a wide-ranging introduction to this group from both the noble Lords, Lord Marks and Lord Paddick. As the noble Lord, Lord Marks, said in his introduction, the amendments in this group call for a series of reviews of different aspects of the system. He expressed his misgivings and uncertainty that the system as it currently operates is succeeding and concluded his remarks by saying that a more sophisticated approach is needed.
Amendment 16 is the first amendment regarding the independent review of provisions, to which the noble Lord, Lord Marks, has spoken. The second in the group, Amendment 34 in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer, is concerned with the financial impact of the changes. The amendment would require the Secretary of State to publish a financial impact assessment of the Act within three years of it coming into force, and this would include the financial impact of extended sentences, extended licence periods, and any additional staffing resources needed as a result of the Act.
Amendment 36 in my name calls for a capacity impact assessment. This amendment would require the Secretary of State to publish an assessment of the capacity of the system as a whole. In their 2016 White Paper, Prison Safety and Reform, the then Government committed to £1.3 billion to create 10,000 new prison places by 2020 and to renovate the existing estate. The 2020 target was later changed to 2022; so far, only 206 new prison places have been built, with 3,360 under construction. The main reasons for those failures and delays were the delays in agreeing and receiving funding to build new prisons. This meant that the construction work began later than planned. In addition, HMPPS was not able to close all prisons and replace them with new ones, due to high demand, which meant it received less money from the sales of old prisons.
Amendment 38, also in my name, proposes a review of the legislation as it affects Northern Ireland. All measures in the Bill as they pertain to Northern Ireland would be reviewed annually with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice and the Northern Ireland Executive; a report would also have to be published and laid before both Houses of Parliament. This would ensure that the Government worked constructively with the Ministry of Justice and Northern Ireland Executive, and that all the Bill’s implications were subject to regular review through the prism of Northern Ireland.
Amendment 39 proposes a review of the National Probation Service. This would require the Government to commission and publish a review of the impact of the Bill on the National Probation Service within 18 months of it coming into force. The review would have to consider, among other things, the level of probation support offered to offenders, as well as the number of specialist staff employed by the National Probation Service, and their skills.
I have received some briefing material from Napo—formerly the National Association of Probation Officers —which makes the point that the probation service is in crisis and that many of the offender management teams are struggling to maintain a balance between experienced staff and newly qualified staff. It is not uncommon to find teams in the community where the most experienced officer has only two to three years of post-qualification experience. As recruitment increases, as it is projected to increase, the pressure on the frontline staff will grow, with more probation officers being moved into management and training roles to support the trainees. The point made by Napo is that a properly remunerated and supported expansion of the probation service is needed to face the challenges ahead.
I have spoken to my amendments in detail but the scene-setting—if I may put it like that—by the noble Lord, Lord Marks, is most appropriate. We are having some very radical reviews, including Jonathan Hall’s review of terrorism and its effect on other prisoners in the prison system and, as he put it in a quote that I picked up as well, the “drumbeat of links” between terrorism and the prison service. I hope that the Government will look favourably on those individual aspects, which need review.
My Lords, Amendment 16 would introduce a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to arrange for an independent review of the impact of Clauses 1 to 31 in the first year of the Act coming into force. I must respectfully disagree that this amendment is necessary. As the House has heard in Committee, the Government already have an Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, and his remit covers the Bill. Indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord Marks, referred to, he has announced his intention to conduct a review in prisons, which we welcome. He has already shown his expertise and engagement with the Bill in its entirety by providing detailed comments on its provisions—contributions that I know this House and those in the other place valued highly. We have every confidence that he will continue to provide valuable and important scrutiny following its enactment and through the prisons review which he will be undertaking. I therefore disagree that there is any need to appoint another reviewer to focus on just some of the Bill’s provisions.
That said, I recognise that the noble Lord, Lord Marks, and others indicated particular concerns by specifying the areas which such a review ought to consider. I shall take these points in turn, which I hope will assuage noble Lords’ concerns. First, there is the question of the impact of longer sentences—or a longer proportion of the sentence spent in custody—on prisoners’ rehabilitation as a result of the Bill. I start by reflecting that within a year of the Bill’s commencement, the impact of longer sentences will not yet be available for us to analyse. Importantly, however, the rationale behind longer custodial sentences for the most serious and dangerous terrorist offenders is one of public protection, which is this Government’s primary concern. Ensuring that these offenders are incapacitated for longer meets this ambition. The noble Lord, Lord Marks, spoke of the crucial importance of the hope of reform and rehabilitation, and we on this side share that hope. It is not that we consider that rehabilitation is unimportant; it will remain central to the work that is undertaken with terrorist offenders in custody.
Second is the question of the Government’s ability to protect other prisoners from radicalisation within the prison estate and the use of separation centres to this end. These issues are raised in reference to the Acheson review recommendations. I assure the noble Lord that most extremist prisoners are and should be managed in the mainstream prison population, with appropriate conditions and controls.
Across the entire prison estate, we have, and seek to maintain, robust case-management processes to manage the risks posed by extremists and to prevent them radicalising others, including co-located offenders. The Government, however, have designed separation centres to hold the most subversive extremist prisoners, preventing them spreading their malicious ideology to other prisoners. These centres were never intended for use with significant numbers of terrorist offenders, as this would undermine their main purpose: to separate the most dangerous from those most vulnerable to radicalisation. The Government use these centres only when it is necessary and, for reasons of national security, the Government do not confirm the numbers of prisoners in individual separation centres.
Finally, I note that the Bill will be subject to the usual practice of post-legislative scrutiny three years after the Bill receives Royal Assent, as is the case for all legislation. In light of this, and the existing position of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, who already has authority to review this legislation, I do not believe this amendment to be necessary.
Amendment 34, spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, and in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, would insert a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to lay a report within three years on the financial impact of the provisions of the Bill, specifically detailing the effects of extended sentences and extended licence periods; the expansion of the sentence for offenders of particular concern regime; the use of polygraph testing as a licence condition; and, as a result of these measures, any increased staffing resources required in Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. I appreciate from the terms of the amendment that there is a concern to examine the cost of these measures when set against the impact assessment already published by the Government.
I make the point that numbers of terrorism offences are so low, comparatively speaking, that the impact of the measures the Bill puts in place is minimal. The impact of licence periods will depend on judicial discretion in setting them and, if the impact assessment carried out and published by the Government was inaccurate, that would be shown up by the process of post-legislative scrutiny. I cite to the Committee a number of figures to inform what I have just said. On 31 December 2020, there were 78,180 in the prison population. The impact assessment estimates the impact of the measures will be around 50 additional cases at any one time. On 30 September 2020, there were 222,657 cases on the probation caseload. The Bill’s impact assessment estimates that the impact of the measures will be around 50 additional case at any one time. The additional polygraph testing as a licence condition is estimated to affect fewer than 150 offenders at any one time, at a cost of about £400,000 annually in steady state.
Therefore, our impact assessment and the figures that support it estimate that the measures in the Bill will have a minimal impact on the prison population and the probation caseload of fewer than 50 additional cases at any one time. This impact, though small, will build up gradually over time and so will not be felt immediately. We are therefore confident that these changes will not have a substantial financial impact on Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, that the Government are already providing funding to support our legislative changes: an increase of £90 million in funding for counterterrorism policing this year; an increase in the resources dedicated to training front-line prison and probation staff through the counterterrorism step-up programme; and an immediate £500,000 package for the Victims of Terrorism Unit. The Government will continue to publish data on prison population and probation caseloads, and we will carry out an internal review on polygraph testing. I do not believe that a legislative commitment is required or necessary to review the financial impact of these measures.
The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, spoke also to Amendment 36, which would insert a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to lay a report on the potential impact of the Bill’s provisions on prison capacity. Again, I respectfully draw his attention to the impact assessment the Government published alongside the Bill, which has already made that assessment. The estimates I have already spoken of are based on recent trends in overall numbers of terrorist offenders being convicted. As the cohort of offenders affected by the Bill is small, these changes will have only a minor impact on prison capacity. We will always provide places, of course, for those sentenced to custody.
In addition to the impact assessment, as I have said, the Government routinely publish data on prison population statistics. I do not believe that a legislative commitment will provide any greater opportunity for scrutiny in this respect. It is worth underlining that the Government’s ambitious programme of improvement in this area—the counterterrorism step-up programme—will put more specialist staff in prisons, working directly with prisoners on rehabilitation, as well as providing intelligence and monitoring of such prisoners. This will make our prisons, and ultimately our streets, safer, an ambition that I am sure noble Lords will support. I know that that is a matter of agreement across the Committee. This programme will be important to ensure that prisons can manage any increased demand from terrorists serving longer in prisons in the near future. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to legislate for a further assessment of the potential impact of these measures.
The noble Lord spoke also to Amendment 38, which would insert a new clause placing a statutory requirement on the Government to review all measures in the Bill that relate to Northern Ireland, in consultation with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice and the Northern Ireland Executive. This review would be required annually and to be published as a report and laid before Parliament. First, I assure him that in developing the Bill, despite the fact that terrorism is a reserved matter, we have carefully considered Northern Ireland’s unique history with terrorism and taken great care not to tamper with provisions enshrined in the Belfast agreement and, particularly, the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. Furthermore, when we have found concessions viable, we have made them, as we demonstrated through our removal of clauses providing for polygraph testing in licensed conditions, following assurances from the Northern Ireland Executive that they are satisfied that the legislative power to use such measures exists already. That said, I remain of the view that we need to take a robust approach to terrorist offending wherever it occurs in the United Kingdom and whatever ideology it aligns itself to. We must avoid a two-tier approach to the sentencing and release of terrorists across the United Kingdom.
The most recent data shows that in 2019-20, there were just 14 convictions for terrorism-related offending in Northern Ireland, and just six in the previous year. With numbers at that level, I submit that there will be too little information on which to base an annual review. The same amendment was raised in the other place, and I respectfully remind the noble Lord that the opportunity already exists for the House to review the Bill’s impact in the relevant committee three years after it receives Royal Assent, through the post-legislative scrutiny process. A review clause of this nature is therefore not required. Reviewing the impact of a Bill after three years will provide a more meaningful opportunity for review. For these reasons, I am not persuaded of the benefit of an annual review of the Bill’s measures in Northern Ireland.
Amendment 39 would insert a new clause placing a statutory requirement on the Government to report on the impact of the provisions in the Act on the National Probation Service 18 months after its enactment. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, that we have considered fully the impact on the National Probation Service of the measures in this Bill, which we consider to be low. We set out the impact in full in the published impact assessment.
I acknowledge the critical role that the National Probation Service plays in managing terrorist offenders. Last year, we tightened measures for terrorist offenders on licence to ensure that there is robust risk management from all relevant agencies. This will be strengthened further by the actions that the NPS and other agencies are taking in response to the MAPPA review recommendations from Jonathan Hall QC. We have also strengthened supervision arrangements, ensuring that all terrorist offenders report to their probation officer at least once a week, introducing increased restrictions on travel and extending GPS tagging.
However, we know that we must ensure that our probation services have the capacity and capability to manage such cases. That is why we have made a major investment in the NPS to establish a national security division, which will see a doubling of counterterrorism specialist staff. This will mean that, by March 2021, we will have sufficient specialist capacity and capability to bring the management of all terrorist offenders in the community under the national security division rather than their being managed by local probation areas.
Investing in NSD will mean not only that expertise is pooled and brought under one division but that we can dedicate resources to providing enhanced training to identify and challenge extremist behaviour. Recruits to NSD will receive both initial induction training and opportunities for continuous professional development over and above what the National Probation Service already offers. Crucially, this investment means that those specialist, trained probation officers will be able to deliver enhanced levels of supervision for these high-risk, complex cases. The department will, of course, review the progress made and impact of this Bill after three years, and we will keep resourcing for the National Probation Service under review. It will take time for these measures to be implemented fully. I submit that a report after only 18 months would not provide an accurate reflection.
In the light of these remarks, I ask the noble Lord, Lord Marks, to withdraw his amendment and hope that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, and the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby—who spoke to the noble and learned Lord’s amendment as well as to his own—will not move theirs when they are called.
My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken and to the Minister for his detailed reply.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, with all his experience, had no difficulty in recognising the need for the review for which we have called, and clearly set out why a review after a year was appropriate. My noble friend Lord Paddick emphasised the need for deradicalisation and made the point, which ought to be obvious but was not addressed by the Minister, that everyone will be released at some stage so working to help them to be safe on release is therefore crucial. He also highlighted the clear danger that keeping offenders in prison for disproportionately long sentences may make them more likely to offend rather than less by further radicalising them, depriving them of hope and undermining their prospects of reform.
The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, in speaking to the amendments in his name and that of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, pointed out the risk of implementing increased sentences without a clear approach to making safe, new prison places available and to ensuring that the special implications for Northern Ireland are properly considered. Particularly important from my perspective, he stressed the role of the probation service.
In response, the Minister urged the Committee to accept that the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is the appropriate reviewer of this legislation. I do not accept that. While his role is of course extremely important, it is not the same as someone tasked with a full review directed at the whole, overall impact of this legislation and focused on it. There is a well-established place for formal review after legislation is passed. Nor do I accept that it is necessary for reviewing the impact of this Bill that we should see, as the Minister appeared to suggest at one stage, what has happened on release at the end of offenders’ periods in custody or even after three years. What is necessary is to see, and see reasonably quickly, how these sentences are working and how they are affecting prisons and the prison population—including in particular how the presence of more, very long-term terrorists affects those already in prisons. We need to assess the financial and other impacts at an early stage and see how far the system is changed by the new long sentences.
The Minister questioned the impact of those long sentences because the number of prisoners is low—indeed, he went so far as to describe it as “minimal”—but that leaves out of account the impact of the number of prisoner years to be served by those on very long sentences and the importance of those prisoners within the system, including the danger of their glorification by other prisoners with an inclination towards terrorism.
For all the Minister asserting that enough review work and impact assessments have been done already, so that the reviews we seek are unnecessary, I disagree. However, in the hope that we will be able to discuss a programme for future review with the Government, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment at this stage.
Amendment 16 withdrawn.
Clause 32: Polygraph licence conditions for terrorist offenders: England and Wales
Amendments 17 and 18
17: Clause 32, page 28, line 30, leave out paragraph (a)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment and the amendment at page 29, line 14 are consequential on the removal of Clause 35.
18: Clause 32, page 29, line 14, leave out paragraph (b)
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement to the amendment at page 28, line 30.
Amendments 17 and 18 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 19. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this amendment to a Division must make that clear in debate.
19: Clause 32, page 29, line 18, at end insert—
“(4) In section 30 (use in criminal proceedings of evidence from polygraph sessions), in subsection (1), leave out “a released” and insert “any”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment probes the use of information obtained through polygraphs against third persons.
My Lords, I appreciate that the Committee dealt with some clauses regarding polygraphs on the previous day in Committee, to the extent of filleting the Bill so that certain provisions do not extend beyond England and Wales. I apologise to the Committee that I did not retrieve Amendments 19A and 19B, which were tabled at that time. I shall save my more general remarks about polygraphs for the next grouping, as this is a narrow point.
Section 30 of the Offender Management Act excludes the use of two matters as evidence in any proceedings against a released person. Those matters are physiological reactions and a statement made during participation in a polygraph session. The amendment would make it clear that those matters could not be used as evidence in proceedings against a third party, its purpose being to ask whether that is now the case. When dealing with terrorism offences, there must be a lot of interest in the contacts of individuals—and, perhaps, a lot of interest in finding evidence that can be used against those other people.
I was very grateful for the teach-in arranged by the MoJ on how these sessions are currently run for sex offenders. During that briefing, it was explained to us that the sessions are not fishing or trawling for information; they are not wide-ranging discussions to see what an offender might let slip. They use closed questions, to which the answer will primarily be yes or no. It seems to me that some questions can lend themselves to inquiries about situations which may be relevant to other persons: for instance, “Since our last session, have you had any contact with, direct or indirect, or any news of X?” or “Has your wife had any news of X’s family?” My amendment is to probe whether the answers can be used in evidence against X. I beg to move.
My Lords, I regard this group and the next as essentially probing the Government on the use of polygraphs in relation to those convicted of serious terrorism offences. Like the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I attended the briefing last week, during which the potential use of polygraphs was explained; I also found it useful. As I understand it, polygraphs will be a tool—not instead of anything else—to assist in monitoring by the National Probation Service of offenders who have been convicted of serious terrorist offences and are considered at high risk of causing further serious harm.
I need a little convincing that their use in monitoring sexual offenders is really a terribly useful precedent for the challenge presented by serious terrorist offenders, who often have particular ideological convictions which may make detecting lies or inconsistences rather a different challenge from serious sexual offenders, although I understand that polygraphs have been used by the National Probation Service since about 2013.
I suspect piloting may not be particularly easy, given the numbers involved. We all know from the terrible events following, for example, what happened at Fishmongers’ Hall how challenging it is to assess whether someone has been successfully rehabilitated or not. During the last group, the noble Lord, Lord Marks, stressed how important it was for there to be “effective deradicalisation”. I am sure all noble Lords agree that is a desirable aim, but it is something of a holy grail. As we discussed in Committee last week, effective deradicalisation has been a significant challenge for those responsible for managing offenders, not just in this country but in many others where Islamic terrorists and other extremists have presented problems.
I understand the primary purpose of this Bill to be protecting the public from the very serious consequences of offences committed by these offenders. That does not preclude the possibility of rehabilitation, but I think the balance in the public’s view is very much in favour of protecting them.
I understand that there will be an internal review of this polygraph testing—the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, said so in response to a previous group—and that it is considered that it may involve something like 150 offenders, a relatively small cohort. He also said the responsibility for these offenders might, as I understand it, eventually be transferred to a specialist branch of the National Probation Service—the NSD. Experience of handling terrorist offenders in particular would certainly be desirable.
Although I look forward to the Minister’s response, this process of assessing how best to assist in monitoring serious offenders seems very challenging. Those with that responsibility need all the help they can get, given the difficulties they will encounter. At the moment, I see considerable advantage in using these polygraphs.
My Lords, may I say how much I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, in his warning against equating too closely the use of polygraphs in monitoring sexual offenders with their use on terrorist offenders, who obviously pose a very different problem? The Minister should consider that.
Sixty years ago, in 1961, I was proudly driving my red and black little Austin A40—new car, brand new wife—along the twisting road from Mold to Denbigh in north Wales. It was a snowy day, just like today—that is what reminded me of the incident. We were not in a hurry. I approached a bend well on my own side of the road at a reasonable speed. There was a car parked on the bend; a large lorry coming from the opposite direction at speed saw it late, swerved out to overtake it on my side of the road and, as he pulled back, his rear end hit my car.
I gave evidence in the Denbigh Magistrates’ Court and found it very stressful. A police sketch of the accident was produced which purported to show where my car had ended up, with a 30-foot, perfectly straight skid mark. I told the chairman of the Bench I thought my car had finished some 20 yards short of where it was shown on the plan. He said, “Don’t you appreciate this is a carefully prepared police plan of your accident?” I said, “Well, it is entitled ‘rough sketch plan’.” Everybody laughed—except the chairman. The defendant was acquitted of careless driving, with the chairman commenting that the wrong person had been prosecuted —it should have been me. However, the lorry driver’s insurers paid me and my wife damages for personal injury without any questions.
The point of this lengthy reminiscence is that witnesses are giving evidence up and down the country in Crown Courts and magistrates’ courts every day, but nobody has ever thought to put a polygraph test on them as they are questioned. Your pulse may be racing, your blood pressure through the roof; you may be sweating, wishing you were anywhere other than perched in a witness box above the well of the court with myriad sceptical eyes looking you up and down—not because you are lying, but you may be afraid that someone, like the chairman of the Denbigh Bench, may not believe you. There are also those pesky lawyers paid to make you out to be a liar with their ridiculous version of the event. That is why the present Domestic Abuse Bill calls for special measures for victims and their witnesses and the present overseas operations Bill has a presumption against prosecution altogether, to save old soldiers the stress of recalling bad times.
The purpose of polygraph testing, as I said at our last meeting on 26 January, is to measure the physiological response of a person to questioning. It depends on the proposition that a person who lies will demonstrate it by changes in his blood pressure, perspiration, heartbeat and so on. I pointed out last time that these conditions are explicable by the stress of being questioned, by being thought to be lying, even by the state of your stomach-turning digestion, or by fear.
Because these physiological changes do not demonstrate that a person is lying, at least to the degree of certainty required for a conviction, evidence of the result of a polygraph test is excluded in court. It is therefore very good policy that, so far, the courts of this country have refused to accept polygraph results as admissible evidence.
We have already discussed whether such evidence should be used where terrorists are released from prison to monitor their continuing behaviour in the community. The purpose of this amendment is to probe whether the Government harbour any desire to go any further: whether this restraint will be maintained if the results of such a test appear to be relevant to a future terrorist trial in a court. That is when principle is put to the test—when there appears to be an indiscriminate danger to the public.
I support this amendment and I look forward to hearing the Minister’s comments on the proposal.
My Lords, as my noble friend Lady Hamwee and others have explained, Clause 32 puts the imposition of polygraph conditions on serious terrorist offenders released on licence on the same footing as applies in the case of serious sexual offences. I say at the outset that I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, and my noble friend Lord Thomas that different considerations apply with terrorist offenders and sexual offenders.
Yesterday, in Committee on the Domestic Abuse Bill, we discussed the use of polygraph testing for domestic abuse offenders released on licence—and again, different considerations apply. Nevertheless, I said then that my outright opposition to the use of polygraph testing anywhere in our criminal justice system had become more nuanced when the proposed use was for the limited purpose of monitoring compliance with licence conditions on release from custody. My outright opposition hitherto stemmed from the lack of proven reliability of polygraph testing and from the perception at least that it is directed to providing binary answers, true or false, to complex evidential questions—hence the use of statements such as “He failed a polygraph test”. Lawyers naturally prefer a system which depends on the careful and balanced evaluation of evidence, often conflicting or inconsistent, rather than certainty.
In part, as I said yesterday, I have become more sympathetic to the use of polygraph testing with the help of the comprehensive and very helpful learning session organised by the MoJ last Thursday, which was attended by a number of Peers, including the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, and my noble friend Lady Hamwee, as they have said. In addition, I accept that there are legitimate reasons for the use of polygraph testing to provide information to the police and others investigating serious offences and, in the case of terrorism, often potential offences that threaten multiple lives. However, accepting polygraph testing for those limited purposes does not mean that we can accept polygraph testing in criminal cases, and that will remain our position unless and until the reliability of polygraph testing is far more conclusively established than it is now. I agreed completely with the observations of my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford on how stress can affect evidence given in a court and on how falsely polygraph testing may skew such evidence.
Our Amendment 19 would amend Section 30 of the Offender Management Act to ensure that evidence of any statement made by a released defender in a polygraph session, and any of his physiological reactions while being so examined, could not be used in a criminal prosecution of any person, not just the released offender. It is right that this amendment is billed as a probing amendment, but that is plainly right. However, at the moment, Section 30 does not say that. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wolfson, said yesterday in answer to me on the domestic abuse provisions:
“Section 30 of that Act provides unequivocally that any statement or any physiological reaction made by an offender during the polygraph session may not be used in criminal proceedings in which that person is a defendant.”—[Official Report, 8/2/21; col. 41.]
Therefore, the Government accept the principle that evidence obtained as a result of polygraph testing, or flowing from physiological reactions under such testing, cannot be used as evidence in a prosecution brought against the person being tested. It must be right that it should not be possible to use such evidence in the prosecution of anybody else, and the reasons mentioned by my noble friend Lord Thomas apply equally to that situation.
It therefore seems that, while this is a probing amendment, it is an amendment that the Government can and should plainly accept without compromising their position or anything that the Bill is trying to achieve, and that it is simply consistent with the position taken by the Government that polygraph-testing evidence cannot be used to secure a criminal conviction.
I stress, in the context of the danger posed by terrorism, that I take the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, that deradicalisation is difficult to achieve. He described it as a holy grail. I emphasise that nothing we say would prevent those administering polygraph testing to released offenders from passing on to the police for the purpose of preventing terrorism information revealed to them. Nor should the police be inhibited from using such information passed on to them in investigating and avoiding terrorist offences.
Amendments 19A and 19B would have the effect of insisting on the affirmative resolution procedure for regulations making provision relating to the conduct of polygraph sessions further to a terrorism-related offence. I suggest that the need for the affirmative resolution procedure is obvious. I would be grateful, however, if the Minister could confirm a number of other points about the regulations proposed, not just for the conduct of polygraph sessions but for using information obtained in the course of such sessions in relation to recall from licence.
My understanding is that, as with sexual offences, and as we were assured yesterday with domestic abuse offences, no decisions on recall from licence can be taken as a result of a test indicating deception. If the result of a test implies that an offender is lying about breach of a licence condition or about further offences, for example, I understand that investigators may ask the police to investigate further before taking any positive action. There is therefore to be no recall on the basis of a failed test, which will lead to recall only if the police find other evidence establishing that a breach has occurred. I hope that will be confirmed in a terrorist context as well.
I also have some concerns about cases where an offender makes a disclosure in a polygraph test, confessing to behaviour that is a breach, and who might therefore be recalled. I asked yesterday about this and was told by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wolfson, that recall in domestic abuse cases may follow if
“disclosures made voluntarily by the offender during the polygraph examination … reveal that they can no longer be safely managed in the community. Those circumstances would also lead to a return to custody. The important point to bear in mind in that regard is that that is no different from a situation in which an offender makes such disclosures without the polygraph licence condition.”—[Official Report, 8/2/21; col. 41.]
I take that point, but I regard it as important that, before a disclosure in a polygraph test can lead to recall, there should be a hearing where the disclosure is either admitted by the offender to be true or can be tested so as to ensure that it is voluntary, genuine and true before a recall based on it is affected.
Yesterday I posed a number of questions to the Minister in relation to domestic abuse polygraph conditions. They are reported in Hansard, but the same questions are pertinent today in connection with this Bill. They concerned in particular: first, a guarantee that the results of polygraph testing carried out under the clause could not be used to secure convictions of a criminal offence; secondly, that recall from licence on the basis of a disclosure in a polygraph test of a breach of a licence condition will not be possible without a further hearing—the point I just mentioned; and, finally, whether evidence of a breach of a polygraph licensing condition could ever be itself based on evidence from a failed polygraph test. It would be helpful to have those answers in the context of this Bill relating to terrorist offences as well.
It is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames. He has covered much of the area with which I am concerned in these sensible probing amendments. The next amendment, Amendment 20, which talks about piloting polygraph tests in this area, deals in effect with the same concerns.
My understanding of the position that the Government are advancing is that we are now concerned only with England and Wales because they deleted the Scotland and Northern Ireland provision that was there before. In effect, they are applying the principles in the Offender Management Act 2007 on polygraph tests. Therefore, the first question is: should one put a polygraph condition into the licence conditions of a terrorist offender? As I understand it, a polygraph condition is that the offender has to agree, if asked, to a polygraph. Will it be automatic that such a condition will be imposed for terrorist offenders? What will be the basis on which such conditions will be imposed?
We on this side are very keen that the authorities should have every reasonable tool that they can to try to prevent terrorist offenders, including those who are released on licence. I am keen to probe whether this particular provision contributes to that. As I understand it from the Government’s proposal, the purpose of the polygraph sessions that will be included in the licence condition will be only to monitor the offender’s compliance with the other conditions of his licence or improve the way in which he is managed during his release on licence.
In relation to the first of those two—monitoring compliance with the other conditions of his licence—does that mean that it will be used to see whether he is in fact complying? If he fails a polygraph test, could that be a basis for recalling him to prison on the basis that he has failed to comply with the other conditions of his licence? If it is the Government’s intention not just to rely on the failure of a polygraph test before recalling an offender to prison, where is that reflected in the statute or in the Bill?
In addition to those questions, to what extent is the Minister worried that, if somebody passed a polygraph test, it would lead the authorities not to make further investigations about an offender’s possible breaches of compliance of the conditions of his licence? Additionally, in relation to the second purpose of polygraph testing—namely, to improve the way in which he is managed during his release on licence—can the Minister give us some examples of what that would mean in practice?
Can I deal with the legal use of the answers to polygraph tests? Section 30 of the Offender Management Act 2007—this has already been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee—says that evidence of
“any statement made by the released person while participating in a polygraph session; and any physiological reactions of the released person while being questioned in the course of a polygraph examination”
cannot be used against that released person for any offence. In answer to my question, that of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and that of the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, can the Minister confirm whether that means that those two things can be used in relation to proceedings against somebody else? It would appear from Section 30 of the Offender Management Act 2007 that they could be. Can they be used on their own for recall proceedings, or are recall proceedings simply an administrative act—in which case, the question of whether they can be relied on alone to justify a recall arises?
My Lords, in responding to the amendment and the various points put to me, I will bear in mind and seek to avoid falling into the trap of being one of those “pesky lawyers” that, as the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, reminded us, still exist.
In that regard, let me turn to the substance of the amendments, particularly Amendment 19 put down by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. This amendment seeks to amend Section 30 of the Offender Management Act, which relates to the use of polygraph evidence in criminal proceedings. I understand that the noble Baroness and others may have concerns that evidence gathered from the conduct of polygraph examinations could be used against a third party in a criminal trial. I know that we covered this yesterday in the Domestic Abuse Bill, but I want to take a moment to record my thanks to those in my department who arranged the learning session for a number of noble Lords, including the noble Lords, Lord Marks and Lord Faulks, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. I understand that they found it helpful and informative, which perhaps indicates that those sessions could be used more often. I assure the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the Committee that it is neither the intention nor the effect of the polygraph testing provisions of the Bill that they will be used in criminal proceedings against third parties.
In response to the specific point put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, we do not harbour any desire to go further than the provisions in the Bill.
Polygraph examinations are now well established as a risk management tool in England and Wales. They have been used successfully, as the Committee has heard, with sex offenders since 2013. In the context of terrorist offenders, which I acknowledge represents a different cohort, they are—if I can put it this way—an additional tool in the toolbox. They will be used, to respond to the point made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so as part of the assessment of the risk offenders pose in the community while on licence and how that risk can best be managed.
As I made clear to the noble Lord, Lord Marks, yesterday in the Committee sitting on the Domestic Abuse Bill, Section 30 of the Offender Management Act makes clear that
“any statement made by the released person while participating in a polygraph session; and any physiological reactions of the released person while being questioned in the course of a polygraph examination”
may not be used in criminal proceedings in which that person is a defendant. While that section does not expressly provide for such information to be precluded from use against others in criminal proceedings, which is what this amendment seeks to achieve, I do not believe the amendment to be necessary.
This is because, although there may be circumstances where information obtained through the polygraph test relating to a third party can be passed from probation to the police to make further investigations, the polygraph material would not be suitable for use as evidence in its own right against a third party. Any allegation against a third party would ultimately need to be tested in court. The court would have to consider, among other things, whether the polygraph evidence was admissible in such other criminal proceedings and the effect of the hearsay rule. While that would ultimately be a matter for the judge in the particular case, noble Lords will appreciate the great difficulties that would be presented by the hearsay rule.
The noble Lord, Lord Faulks, said that sex cases are different from terrorism cases. He is of course right, but he was also right to say that what is presented by terrorism cases is a difficult and challenging task. That is why, to use my earlier metaphor, this is another tool in the toolbox which we would like the services to have available to them. In that regard, I can assure Members of the Committee that polygraph testing will not replace any other risk assessment tools or measures, it is an additional source of information that would otherwise not be available. On that basis, I would invite the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, to withdraw the amendment as it is unnecessary.
I turn now to Amendments 19A and 19B, which are tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick. The amendment to Clause 35 would require regulations relating to the conduct of polygraph examinations to be subject to the affirmative procedure. Perhaps I may remind the Committee that we have already tabled our intention to remove Clause 35 from the Bill, alongside Clauses 33 and 34 dealing with the introduction of polygraph testing as a licence condition in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as part of our efforts to secure legislative consent from each Administration. We covered this in the first sitting of the Committee. It does not reflect a change in policy for England and Wales. As I have said, we firmly believe that polygraph testing is an additional and useful tool.
In that regard, polygraph examinations will be used to monitor compliance with licence conditions based on what has happened and will not ask about future behaviour. I think it was the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, who put to the Committee an example of the type of questions that might be asked. She was right to frame those questions in the past tense. A polygraph examiner might ask, for example, “Did you enter those premises?”, if that was something which had been prohibited by the licence conditions. The question would not be, “Are you going to enter the premises next week?” The questions look at what has happened and past behaviour rather than future intent. They are not used as a way of trying to catch offenders out, but as a measure to identify the extent to which the person on licence is complying with the conditions of the licence.
Although I accept, as the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, reminded the Committee, that giving evidence in court can be a stressful experience, it was interesting to note that he pointed out that we have provided special measures for vulnerable witnesses in the Domestic Abuse Bill. As I understood it, he used that as an example of a case where we recognise that giving evidence can be stressful. Of course, we have also provided for the polygraph examination of the perpetrators of domestic abuse in that Bill. Just as it is in the Domestic Abuse Bill, it is also here; it is an additional tool in our toolbox.
I come to a question put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Marks, which I think was repeated by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton: if a person who is subject to a polygraph examination “fails” a question, can they be recalled immediately? There are two parts to the answer and let me give both. First, what do we mean by “failing”? We use the term as a form of shorthand, and the Government factsheets use it because they are written in what we hope is plain English so that members of the public can understand them, but it is not the correct professional term. The correct terminology that is used by examiners in reports is whether there is a significant response or no significant response. That more nuanced term makes it clear that we are not dealing with a question of passing or failing here; rather it is about whether the examination results indicate that the response has been truthful or not.
That is why, coming to the second part of the question, we do not recall offenders to custody on a significant response in itself. In answer to the question put to me by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, that is not in the Bill, but it is firm policy. Therefore, “failure”, a term that the Committee will now appreciate is a form of shorthand, does not by itself or by default trigger a recall. Where it is safe to do so—for example, with the addition of new licence conditions—the offender can continue to be managed in the community. However, if a disclosure is made which indicates that the risk has escalated beyond the point where the offender can be managed safely in the community, they can be recalled to custody.
In this context—I reiterate the point that I made yesterday in the domestic abuse context—that is the same whether the disclosure was made during the course of a polygraph examination or in a meeting with a probation officer. The polygraph condition, therefore, provides another way in which to examine the manner in which the offender has behaved and is a further source of information on which to base risk-management decisions.
By the use of the negative instrument, Parliament is given the opportunity thoroughly to scrutinise the use of polygraph testing under licence, through debates such as this and those that would occur in the future. The negative resolution approach is appropriate because the conduct of polygraph examination sessions is an administrative matter. Therefore, should a minor adjustment to those procedural rules be needed, we consider that it should not be necessary for that to be subject to an affirmative resolution.
It may be the case, because risk management is a dynamic process, that once the provisions are in force new risks emerge that are particular to the management of terrorist offenders, which the Committed has noted is necessarily different to the management of sex offenders, and the Government would need to be able to respond quickly to that change by making adjustment to regulations. That would be a further reason to use the negative procedure, because it is more flexible. Other than that, polygraph testing for terrorist offenders on licence will be subject to the same standards, degree of rigour and oversight as it is for use with sex offenders.
I hope that I have responded to the first point put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, as regards recall. Yesterday, he asked—I was going to say a barrage—a list of questions about polygraphs in the domestic abuse context, and I understand that he has repeated them, mutatis mutandis, in this context. I have responded to a number of the questions that I was unable to respond to yesterday in the domestic abuse context, given the time, because I anticipated that he might repeat them. I will go through the Official Report. If there are any questions that he put yesterday that I have not responded to today, I will write to him because he will be getting a letter from me in any event, as I promised yesterday.
Specific questions were put to me by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. Perhaps I can respond to his point about the pilot in the next group, which relates to his amendment that specifically focuses on that issue. Otherwise, I think that I have responded to his questions but, again, if a review of the Official Report indicates that I have missed one, I hope that he will permit me to write to him.
For those reasons, I invite noble Lords to withdraw or not move their amendments.
My Lords, I have received a request from the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, to speak after the Minister.
My Lords, I apologise for not adding my name, which I put down to speak but not on a particular group. Yet again, I find myself as the only person taking part in the debate who is not a lawyer. I shall come back to that later.
In layman’s terms, I joined the Zoom call on polygraph testing last week, to which other noble Lords referred, and it was extremely useful. I thank Heather Sutton from the probation service, Professor Don Grubin and others for laying it on because it explained to me what polygraph testing is. They explained straightaway that a polygraph is not a lie detector but an additional tool to enhance the safe and effective risk management of offenders and could not be used as evidence.
I did, in fact, ask why sex offending was used as the only precedent for using polygraphs on terrorists. I think that I sort of understood the response, which was that it was a question of denial. That is what they sought to find out. It was a very useful teach-in session.
That is why I am slightly puzzled that we are discussing these amendments. As I said, I am not a lawyer. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, reminded us that law can be a gift that keeps on giving. We were reminded of that only at the weekend. We heard from three Liberal Democrats. I think they all said—the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, certainly did—that you cannot use a polygraph test as evidence. If you cannot use it as evidence against the specific person against whom you have done the test, surely by implication it cannot be used as evidence against somebody else. My noble friend the Minister specifically pointed to hearsay. It seems that we are slightly arguing about angels on the head of a needle: it will not be used, so why on earth are we arguing about it? This was presented as a probing amendment, but it seems to be probing something that we do not really need to probe
The point of polygraph testing is that, as an additional tool, we would get away from the case of Usman Khan at Fishmongers’ Hall, who had convinced his mentor, Jack Merritt, that he was de-radicalised. Jack Merritt believed in him and his redemption, and Usman Khan killed him. Surely we should use these additional tools if they have any substance or credibility. From what we heard in the teach-in last week, polygraph testing has some credibility.
Let us please back the use of an additional tool until proved otherwise, because frankly we are dealing with something that I guess probably none of us in this Chamber or on this call understand. We do not understand why somebody would get into an aeroplane, train for months in the United States and then fly that aeroplane into the twin towers. We do not understand suicide bombers. We do not understand the radicalisation that takes place in these people, so surely we should give the Government every tool they can possibly have. I certainly back them on this.
My Lords, I am grateful for the question put to me by my noble friend. As I said, that is precisely what the Government seek to do: to provide an additional tool for the management of these offenders. The point he made regarding deradicalisation is, if I may say so, very perceptive. It is a difficult part of the overall structure we are putting in place in the Bill, as we have in other legislation.
I am delighted to hear that my noble friend found the teach-in session helpful. I am particularly grateful to him for putting on record the names of the people who presented it. I know that they put a lot of work into putting it together.
The only point I would respectfully disagree with my noble friend on is one that I had cause to point out to another Member of your Lordships’ House—I think last week. One must really stop apologising for not being a lawyer. I think my noble friend did it twice. I pointed out last week that what is regarded as a cause for apology in this House is generally regarded as a badge of honour everywhere else. The question put to me by my noble friend exemplifies how this is a matter for lawyers and non-lawyers.
My Lords, at the briefing by the MoJ, I was one of those who volunteered—at some point when we are able to travel again—to undergo a test, because I would like to experience what it is like. I sound a note of caution about the use of private—sometimes confidential but certainly private—sessions. They are terrific and helpful, but only so far; I do not believe that they can take the place of public debate. I could respond at some length to the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, but it would be outside the scope of the amendment. The purpose of scrutiny and its place in the development of legislation mean that it must be undertaken in public. I do not mean to sound too pompous in saying that, but it is something that I believe very profoundly.
The Minister apologised for being a pesky lawyer, but I think that being a pesky lawyer or an activist lawyer is a badge of honour. I disagreed with the comment of my noble friend Lord Thomas that people would not want to apply polygraphs in criminal proceedings. I can imagine that there are a lot of situations when people in court think that they would very much like to apply a polygraph to some witnesses—but that is by the by. I have told myself that I would not take up too much time with this response, because we have a lot of amendments to get through.
Inevitably, perhaps, this turned into a more general debate. On the specific amendment, we are told that it is unnecessary, and that what one might take—I cannot think of the right term— from a polygraph would be unsuitable for use in court, because it would be hearsay. I shall have a look at that after today, but I think that there is a little bit of circularity in all that. Certainly, in the real world, the questions that might be asked would, I am sure, provide material for the police, if not the prosecution—but that is a common-sense response. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 19 withdrawn.
Clause 32, as amended, agreed.
Clauses 33 and 34 disagreed.
Clause 35: Polygraph licence conditions in terrorism cases: supplementary provision
Amendments 19A and 19B not moved.
Clause 35 disagreed.
We now come to the group consisting of Amendment 20. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press the amendment to a Division must make that clear in the debate.
20: After Clause 35, insert the following new Clause—
“Review of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders
(1) The Secretary of State must, within six months of this Act being passed and before sections 32 to 35 come into force, conduct a pilot of the use of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders.(2) The outcome of the pilot must be reported to Parliament within 12 months of this Act being passed.(3) The report must include—(a) data on the number of terrorist offenders who have been subject to polygraph testing during the pilot;(b) an explanation of how the results of polygraph tests have been used during the pilot;(c) an analysis of the effect polygraph testing has had on the licence conditions of terrorist offenders;(d) data on the number of terrorist offenders who were recalled to prison on the basis of polygraph test results;(e) a recommendation from the Secretary of State as to whether sections 32 to 35 should enter into force following the pilot; and(f) evidence from independent research on the reliability and value of polygraph testing of terrorist offenders.” Member’s explanatory statement
This new Clause requires the Secretary of State to conduct a pilot test of the use of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders and report the outcome to Parliament, in addition to setting out evidence for the reliability of polygraph tests based on independent research.
This amendment proposes that the Secretary of State, within six months of the Bill being passed, should set up a pilot to see how the polygraph condition works in relation to terrorist offenders. It is a probing amendment. It may well be that a different or longer period would be required for the pilot, but the purpose of a pilot is to test a number of aspects of polygraph testing. We have gone through this on the previous group, and I do not want to spend too much time on it because we have already discussed it a lot, but I have three particular concerns that would be tested by a pilot.
First, how does polygraph testing operate in practice? I would be grateful if the Minister, who was very helpful on the previous amendment, would give us some indications about how it works in practice. By that, I mean the following. If one asks a question of an offender in a polygraph test, “Did you, in breach of your conditions, visit a certain place?”, and he gives an answer to which there is—to use the language of the Minister and the briefing—a significant response, does that mean that further investigations take place? If there is no significant response, would that mean, for example, that there would not be any further investigation? Does that give rise to risks that too much reliance will be placed on the answers in polygraphs to, for example, not undertake further investigations?
My second area of concern is the one raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, on Amendment 19. It would appear from the very helpful answer given by the Minister on the previous group that answers given would be admissible in proceedings against another offender, albeit that their admission would be subject to the discretion of the trial judge for the other offence. In certain circumstances I can see very clearly that they might be of real evidential value—for example, because they constituted an admission or because they constituted evidence of a conspiracy, depending on the content of what is being said. Can I take it that the Government are saying that they might in certain circumstances be admissible and that they are content for that to be the position? It is important that the Committee knows what the position is.
Thirdly, am I right in saying that decisions about recall are made not by a court but by a probation officer, and are there any reasons why he or she should not rely on a significant response—to use lay man’s language, a failure—of a polygraph test? I beg to move.
My Lords, the questions that have been asked are important. We cannot assume that the rules that currently apply for use with sex offenders are going to apply in terrorism cases. Indeed, Clause 35(2) tells us that there may be particular rules for terrorism cases, and even if that was not in the Bill, we know that rules can be changed at any time, relatively easily.
Polygraphs do not have a great reputation with the public, and “The Jeremy Kyle Show” did not enhance it, which is another reason for wanting to explore details today. I made the point only yesterday on the Domestic Abuse Bill that operators have to follow courses accredited by the American Polygraph Association, and I was interested—I will try to use a neutral term—that we in this country are following American practice.
Under the rules, there are requirements about reports and records. I had a look at the 2009 rules, under which the operator is required to explain the requirements of the session: that anything disclosed might be communicated to the probation officer, and that there must be consent—or, rather, written confirmation—from the offender that these explanations have been given. I stopped myself calling it “consent” because, in that situation, I wonder whether the anxiety to which my noble friend Lord Thomas referred would preclude a complete understanding by the offender of what is happening. In that situation, knowing that refusal to take a test would amount to a breach of licence conditions, would you not sign anything?
The current reviewer of terrorism legislation has called for a pilot, and, if not a pilot, then post-legislative scrutiny. Not many Bills come along for post-legislative scrutiny by Parliament. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, painted a picture that I did not quite recognise. It sounded rather more like a departmental review—an internal review—than scrutiny by Parliament to see how an Act is getting on.
At last week’s briefing, I asked about the reliability of polygraphs used on subjects who have undergone some extreme experiences, such as having been in a war zone. I understand that that cohort is particularly in the Government’s mind at the moment. The professor of psychiatry—Professor Grubin, I think—who, I understand, advises the Home Office, realised that I was referring to trauma. I had not wanted to assume that they were subjects who had been traumatised, but he was right. I remain concerned not only about what might be perceived from offenders’ reactions but that the test itself might be retraumitising, so I think that the questions being posed are very helpful.
My Lords, it has been a privilege to listen to the speeches this afternoon. I have benefited very much from what has been said by all noble Lords and I make these submissions bearing that in mind.
At the moment, I see Clause 35(1) as the most important provision dealing with polygraph licence conditions. What we have heard this afternoon indicates just how clearly we are engaged on a learning curve at present. As I read it, subsection (1) provides that the power to use polygraph licence conditions will be limited by the regulations made in that subsection. Therefore, it seems that the whole of this debate should be conditioned by that provision, and that is why I thought it right to intervene in this almost private party that is dealing with these issues.
It seems to me that we are on a learning curve not only with regard to the provisions of this Bill but generally on the use of polygraphs in this country. It is obviously very useful to have as much material as we can so that, before we give the Government such powers as we consider appropriate, we know what the limitations will be.
I of course recognise that the Ministers we have heard address the House today would have given the assurances they did only if they were confident that they would in fact be applicable. But the provisions will be in their final form only after the regulations have already been drafted and the limitations expressed. That is why I think the whole concept in the amendment proposed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, should be treated as being very appropriate, because this is the mechanism by which those limitations are going to be defined.
My Lords, I was very happy with the Minister’s reply when he said that a significant response—not a failure—does not lead to a recall and to the loss of liberty of the person who is being examined by polygraph. That seemed to be a very clear statement. But the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, has raised some interesting questions and I would like to pursue them a little further.
He asked how it works in practice; I ask how it works in principle. For example, on 26 January I raised the point of the right to silence. The person who is obeying the conditions of his licence by taking part in a polygraph test is asked a series of questions. Nobody has suggested that he is warned that he need not say anything unless he wishes to do so. He does not have a caution, and he does not apparently have a right to silence, because if he refuses to obey the condition of his licence—regardless of anything he may or not say about his position—he is presumably open to be recalled to prison and to lose his liberty. That is a very important point that we should consider and address.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, also introduced an interesting concept in relation to the third person—namely, can the transcript of a polygraph test be used as evidence of a conspiracy? We would like a straightforward response to that from the Minister.
Finally, my noble friend Lady Hamwee revealed something that I had not appreciated: the recall to prison—the loss of liberty—is determined not by the court but by a probation officer. A probation officer takes the decision. “Well, he’s refusing to answer the polygraph test, he’s breached his conditions and I’m going to send him back to prison.” That, to my mind, introduces an important point of principle.
I wholly support the proposal in the amendment that there should be a pilot to investigate these practical and principled questions that have been raised.
My Lords, I support this amendment in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer, who has asked some very important questions. I say immediately that I valued very much the teach-in that I attended on Microsoft Teams on the working of the polygraph, and I thank the Minister for arranging it.
We are in a new field in this context, and an issue of this kind, when it is embedded on the face of the Bill, demands very close attention. I raised the issue briefly in my speech at Second Reading, and I support the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, when he states that we are on a learning curve. Having assisted my Minister, Barbara Castle, many years ago, in piloting through the House of Commons the breathalyser legislation to tackle drink driving, which was a very controversial issue at the time, I would be the last to oppose innovation per se, and I do not oppose this proposal. All I am anxious to know, in the fullness of time, is how it is working.
I learned at the teach-in that the polygraph is a useful tool in the management of offenders. It only gives an indication of past conduct, but it could be used to pick up warning signs on what might be done in the future, and is a significant tool for the management of offenders. The important point above all else was that an offender could not be recalled for failing a polygraph test. I believe that the Minister confirmed this in his reply to an earlier amendment. It is not a magic bullet and it is not 100% accurate. The examples given of its use, in the course of the teach-in, involved such questions as, “Have you had contact with other terrorist offenders?” or “Have you used the internet for any purposes contrary to your licence conditions?”. The polygraph cannot predict future conduct, only past conduct.
At the teach-in, the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, asked whether the polygraph was used in other jurisdictions such as Canada, Israel and the USA. The reply was that it tended to be used for vetting purposes. It was not clear to me whether it could be used for other purposes. If I am wrong in my understanding of the observations that we have heard on this very helpful tool from a panel of experts, the Minister will correct me. However, the limited use of the polygraph is made clear in subsections (1) and (2) of the proposed new clause. It is important to put on the face of a Bill, as my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton has put in the amendment, the need for a pilot to be in use within six months, with a report to Parliament, in the terms of the amendment, within 12 months,
I will not take up the House’s valuable time in repeating the details that are set out in the amendment itself. All I will say is that, given the kind of problem that we face in the management of offenders, we should not shut our eyes to the possibilities of the actions now proposed. How important it will turn out to be will be a question of degree. Therefore, I support this amendment.
My Lords, I wish either that this group had been grouped with the previous group or that I had spoken in the previous group, as we seem to be going over the same ground. Can I also push my luck, at the invitation of the noble and learned Lord, as an out and proud non-lawyer and wonder out loud whether lawyers feel somewhat threatened that there might be a machine more able to tease out whether someone is telling the truth or not, or even to tease out a disclosure, than a lawyer? I do not believe lawyers need to worry. I feel this group and the previous one turned into an extension of the teach-in. But I shall press on.
Amendment 20, moved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, to which my noble friend has added her name, calls for a review of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders based on a pilot scheme. I take a slightly different view to my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lord Marks, probably because they are pure Liberal Democrats, unlike me, who am contaminated by 30 years’ experience as a police officer.
Yesterday, in discussion on the use of polygraph testing in the Domestic Abuse Bill, the Minister talked about how polygraph tests were used. I join other noble Lords in saying how helpful the teach-in on polygraph testing provided by the Ministry of Justice was, and I thank the ministry for it. In that presentation, if I recall correctly, we were told that the tests are 80% to 90% accurate, on the basis of tests carried out on sex offenders. The tests measure physiological changes that occur if someone is trying to think of a wrong answer about an experience they have had in the past. People usually instinctively think of the truthful answer before they offer a dishonest alternative, and this produces physiological changes that the tests pick up. The evidence suggests a dishonest response cannot be used in court, and it is not used to recall someone to prison, but it might prompt further investigation by the police. Failing the test is not a replacement for any other form of risk assessment.
From the notes I made at the time, which take me back to giving evidence in court as a police officer, polygraph tests also prompt disclosures that might not otherwise occur. If such a disclosure indicates the subject has breached their licence conditions or is a threat to the public, this can result in prison recall. In short, disclosures can result in immediate sanction, but failing the test can only lead to further investigation.
Although polygraph tests have been used on a large number of sex offenders and have, therefore, been thoroughly evaluated, it will be more difficult, even with a pilot, to evaluate use with terrorists, as there are far fewer of them. My noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford mentioned the right to silence, recalling what we were told in the teach-in. The difference here is that these are convicted offenders on licence, who have no right to silence. However, the science is the same whether we are dealing with sex offenders or terrorists, and polygraph tests are useful where there is a pattern of behaviour rather than a single act. It is, therefore, anticipated that their use in terrorism cases will be similarly effective. There has already been considerable experience of using polygraph tests and evaluating the results, somewhat at odds with the comments of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf. But in agreeing with the noble and learned Lord, I think that it is true to say there has been very limited, if any, experience of using polygraph tests in connection with terrorism offences.
I feel sure that the Government will use polygraph testing with terrorists and, as we will hear in a later group, those subject to TPIMs, on a trial basis, as they intend to do in relation to domestic abuse. But the opportunities to evaluate their effectiveness with terrorists will be more limited, because, as I said, the numbers are considerably smaller. I am sure the Minister will say whether I got that right.
My Lords, on the face of it the purpose of this amendment, tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, is to provide for a pilot of polygraph testing for terrorist offenders in the UK and for a report to be prepared and laid with a recommendation on commencement before the provisions are commenced. I appreciate, however, that the debate has gone a little broader than that, and I will try to respond in my remarks to all the points put to me. I should say at the outset that I am impressed by the note-taking ability of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, which has obviously not diminished with time. I hope that the notes which he took are consistent with not only what he was told at the meeting, as I am sure they are, but with what I said on the previous group and what I am going to say on this group as well.
Polygraph examinations have been used successfully in the management of sexual offenders by the National Probation Service since 2013, following an initial pilot. Offenders involved in the pilot stated that, although they did not like being tested, for many it helped them modify their behaviour and comply with other licence conditions. While I therefore respectfully agree with the comments of the noble and learned Lords, Lord Woolf and Lord Morris of Aberavon, that we are on a learning curve, we are in fact someway up the curve, if I may put it in those terms. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Woolf, was right to remind us of Clause 35(1), which provides for regulations in this context. The breathalyser is a good example, as put before the Committee by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, of how we must always in the criminal justice field avoid being shy of using technology where it is available. The question is how it is to be used; it is in that context that I come to the questions put to me by the Members of the Committee.
Having put that provision in place for sexual offenders, the independent evaluation of mandatory testing on sexual offenders carried out by the University of Kent produced extremely positive results. As the Committee is aware, we have since rolled out polygraph testing in that context. We must therefore be wary of two things. First, we must be wary of the trap of saying that because something might or might not be used in “The Jeremy Kyle Show”, it should form no part of the criminal justice system. “The Jeremy Kyle Show”, which I think has now stopped, can look out for itself. My concern is to ensure that we have proper provisions for polygraph testing in the criminal justice system.
The second thing we must be careful of, if I may respectfully say so, is not to fall into the trap of thinking that anything which comes from the United States of America is inherently suspect in the criminal justice field. I would gently point out to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, that the American Polygraph Association’s standards are those of an international professional association for polygraph examiners. That association carries out research and provides accredited training for examiners. It also provides mandatory professional development training, which all examiners must complete every two years to maintain their accreditation. Its standards are used by examiners across the world, and the Government want to ensure that those standards are maintained for examinations conducted on terrorist offenders.
The central point raised in the amendment tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, is that of the pilot, so I will deal with that first. While a pilot was important for the initial use of polygraph testing with sex offenders, and while we also intend to conduct a pilot for its use with domestic abusers, we have decided not to pilot its use with terrorist offenders, simply because there are insufficient numbers of relevant offenders to carry out a pilot that would produce meaningful results. Therefore, I respectfully disagree with the noble and learned Lord that a pilot prior to commencement would add value. However, we are committed to conducting a robust internal review of testing terrorists after a two-year period, which we anticipate will provide more meaningful results.
Various points put to me by Members of the Committee go beyond the scope of the amendment as drafted but, since they were raised, I hope the Committee will permit me to respond to them. A number of points were raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. First, on how this will operate in practice, he gave an example of a question—“Did you visit a certain location?”—and asked what would happen if there was, or was not, a significant response. If there was a significant response, the person conducting the test would consider whether that merited further investigation. Should he or she so consider, those further investigations would be undertaken. If there was no significant response, that too would be evaluated as part of the overall assessment. Indeed, that was the point that I sought to make in the previous group. This is, to use that phrase again, another tool in the toolbox; it is part of an overall package of evidence, which is assessed.
The second point put by the noble and learned Lord concerned how this would work vis-à-vis another offender; that is, whether the polygraph result would be admissible against another person. I hope that I answered that clearly in the last group by making clear the express prohibition: the results may not be used in criminal proceedings in which the person taking the test is a defendant—and I explained the position with regard to other people. It is important to remember that the question of evidence must be a question for the judge in a particular case unless there is an express statutory prohibition, and I have made clear the limits of the express statutory prohibition. Normally, however, as a matter of principle, things said by an accused outwith the presence of a co-accused would be inadmissible against the co-accused. I stress that admissibility of evidence is not a matter for the Government from the Dispatch Box but a matter for the judiciary in a particular case. I hope that that answers the second point put to me by the noble and learned Lord.
The third point was whether a probation officer would rely only on the polygraph test if it was a tool available to him. Again, this is the tool in the toolbox point: polygraph testing does not replace any existing forms of risk assessment or management. It provides that additional tool, and it provides information that otherwise would not be available. Certainly, I can reassure the noble and learned Lord that there is no evidence from the testing of sexual offenders that polygraph results are being used as a substitute for other forms of risk assessment and management, which, as I understand it, was the burden of his third question.
I now turn to the points put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. He made a point about the right to silence. This is an important right in English law and applies to somebody who has not been convicted. Somebody on licence here who has been convicted of a terrorist offence does not enjoy a presumption of innocence, not least because he has been convicted. We are therefore not talking about a right to silence at all. We are, in fact, talking of a circumstance in which taking the test is a condition of the licence. It is therefore quite right and proper that a refusal to take the test should be something that may result in a recall. Indeed, in that context, I respond to the point put by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, by saying that, frankly, I am less concerned about retraumatising—to use her word—people convicted of terrorist offences than about making sure that they comply with the licence conditions imposed on them.
The second point put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, was about conspiracy. I think that substantially raises the same issue as the second point of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, so I hope I have already answered it.
The third point put to me was whether the probation officer would have the ability to decide on a recall to prison. I have two points here. First, as I said in the last group, and as identified by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, the position is that polygraph testing may inform a risk-based recall, but a “failed” polygraph examination will never be solely used to recall someone to prison. It is part of an overall assessment. In that context, I point out to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, that no doubt that is why his proposed new subsection (3)(d) refers to the number of terrorist offenders recalled to prison on the basis of polygraph test results. We would have to read “on the basis of” in that context to mean one of the factors taken into account, because, as I said, it cannot be solely on the basis of a failed test.
The second part of my answer to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, is that it is not unusual that this is a matter for the probation officer. He will appreciate that statutory and Parole Board procedures are in place for an offender to challenge the recall should they wish to do so.
I am just checking that I have responded to all the points put to me. I believe I have; I will check the Official Report and write to any noble Lords if they have raised points to which I have not expressly responded. I am conscious that this debate has gone a little—or quite a lot—further than the scope of the amendment itself. I hope, having heard my response on the particular point of the pilot and to the noble and learned Lord’s three questions, that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, will be content to withdraw his amendment.
Noble Lords may be pleased to know that we have had no requests to speak after the Minister, so I call the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
I am grateful to everybody who has participated in the debate, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, the noble Lords, Lord Thomas and Lord Paddick, and the noble and learned Lords, Lord Woolf and Lord Morris of Aberavon—all of whom, with the possible exception of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, supported the idea of some sort of pilot. I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, for his response.
I take from this debate that there are very considerable issues and uncertainty around the use of polygraphs because they are quite new in this country. Like everybody else, I am concerned that, if they are a genuinely useful tool, they should be available to the authorities.
I am struck by what the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson, said about not having enough terrorist offenders on which to base a pilot, and I take note of that. I understood him to say that the Government will themselves carry out a review within two years. In light of what he said, I am minded to think that the right thing to do is to come back on Report with an amendment suggesting a pilot which can embrace all the terrorist offenders, because there will not be that many. That will not restrict the Government from using them now, but it will require them within two years—not the 12 months I have referred to—to come back with the information referred to in proposed new subsection (3) of the amendment. That would be good from the point of view of informing the public about polygraphs and, more importantly, informing the Government on how they do it, because they have to make a report on it.
I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson, for his response, and I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment 20 withdrawn.
Clause 36 agreed.
Schedule 11: Release on Licence of Repatriated Terrorist Prisoners
Amendments 21 to 26
21: Schedule 11, page 93, leave out lines 28 to 32
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment, and the amendments at page 94, line 15, page 94, line 29 and page 94, line 41 are consequential on the removal of Clause 33.
22: Schedule 11, page 94, line 15, leave out “or (3B)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement for the amendment at page 93, line 28.
23: Schedule 11, page 94, leave out lines 29 to 33
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement for the amendment at page 93, line 28.
24: Schedule 11, page 94, line 41, leave out “or (4)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement for the amendment at page 93, line 28.
25: Schedule 11, page 95, leave out lines 4 to 10
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement for the amendment at page 53, line 41.
26: Schedule 11, page 95, line 37, leave out “or (4B)”
Member’s explanatory statement
See the explanatory statement for the amendment at page 53, line 41.
Amendments 21 to 26 agreed.
Schedule 11, as amended, agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 27. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in the group to a Division must make this clear in the debate.
Clause 37: TPIMs: condition as to involvement in terrorism-related activity
27: Clause 37, page 34, line 35, leave out from “subsection (1)” to end of line 37 and insert “after “Secretary of State” leave out “is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities,” and insert—
“(a) for the first year of the TPIM, has reasonable grounds for suspecting; and(b) for any further years of the TPIM, is satisfied on the balance of probabilities,””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would leave in place the existing standard of proof for the second and subsequent years of any TPIM notice.
My Lords, TPIMs, or terrorism prevention and investigation measures, are the successors to, and relatives of, control orders. They may be imposed at the discretion of the Secretary of State, unless a court, on a preliminary look, considers them “obviously flawed”, if specified criteria are satisfied. They are summarised like this in the March 2020 annual report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation:
“There are up to 14 measures that can be imposed including overnight residence requirements; relocation to another part of the United Kingdom; police reporting; an electronic monitoring tag; exclusion from specific places; limits on association; limits on the use of financial services and use of telephones and computers; and a ban on holding travel documents. Breach of any measure is a criminal offence.”
It is common for all or substantially all of those measures to be imposed, severely limiting the basic freedoms of the subjects and impinging heavily on their families. Relocation—removed by the coalition in 2012—was reinstated in 2015. Additional measures are, of course, contained in the Bill.
The issue raised by Clause 37 and by these amendments, including Amendment 27 in my name and that of my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, is: how strongly must the Secretary of State suspect a person of involvement in terrorism before choosing to impose a TPIM on them? Since TPIMs succeeded control orders in 2012, the Secretary of State has been required to have a reasonable belief that the intended subject is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity—a belief, in other words, that the person has been involved in some capacity in the wide range of activity spelled out in Section 4 of the TPIM Act 2011. That range is not limited to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; it extends also to those who encourage, support and assist such behaviour. Nor need any specific act of terrorism be in prospect.
The “reasonable belief” formulation was amended in 2015 to one of satisfaction on the balance of probabilities, but the meaning is to all intents and purposes the same. The bottom line is that, before imposing this most extreme of all executive measures, the Home Secretary needs to have formed the view only that someone is, or was, probably involved in terrorism. That is already an easy standard to satisfy in the case of anyone who is likely to be a candidate for a TPIM—resource-intensive measures, as they are, that are not lightly applied for.
It is not a court that has to apply the balance of probabilities, on the basis only of admissible evidence. The judgment is entrusted to the Secretary of State, and she makes it, crucially, on the basis not just of admissible evidence but of the intelligence assessments with which she is provided by the Security Service and others. Such intelligence far exceeds what could be placed before a civil or criminal court. It is likely to include intercept material, or material supplied by foreign liaison partners who are unwilling to see it deployed in a public setting, or reports from a covert human intelligence source, whose existence could never be publicly disclosed. The Secretary of State sees all that in the form of documents, which, when I reviewed these things, I repeatedly described as thorough and conscientious. Everything is available to her, and she is required to conclude only that it probably demonstrates some involvement, past or present, in terrorism-related activity.
Policy-making is often a question of taking a stab at an uncertain future, but not in this case. The Government have experience of six years with control orders and nine years with TPIMs. They have had to consider whether to impose them on, among others, the hundreds of British citizens who have returned to this country from war zones in Syria and Iraq. I suggest that it is of great significance that the Minister Chris Philp candidly accepted on Report in the other place, consistent with the evidence of Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques before the Commons committee, that
“there has not been an occasion on which the security services wanted to give a TPIM but could not do so because of the burden of proof.”—[Official Report, Commons, 21/7/20; col. 2093.]
That precisely conforms with my own observations as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: that the existing standard is satisfied in every case where a TPIM might possibly be thought useful. It is not simply that the case for reducing the standard has not been made out—that case is refuted by the police evidence and by the words of the Commons Minister himself. The change that is none the less proposed is to substitute “reasonable suspicion” for “reasonable belief”. The difference between those tests was explained by the late and much-lamented Lord Justice Laws in the Court of Appeal, which I take the liberty of quoting in full:
“Belief and suspicion are not the same, though both are less than knowledge. Belief is a state of mind by which a person thinks that X is the case. Suspicion is a state of mind by which the person in question thinks that X may be the case.”
Under the proposal in this Bill, the Home Secretary will no longer need to have formed the view that somebody probably did encourage, support or assist a terrorist. It will be enough that she thinks they may have done one of those things. Reasonable suspicion is most familiar as the arrest standard: the state of mind which must be present before someone can be detained by the police, often in the heat of the moment. Arrest may be followed by detention prior to charge for a few days only. Even in terrorist cases, the maximum, which is rarely used, is 14 days if a court continues to so permit.
This Parliament famously and rightly rejected an extension of that period to 90 days, and then to 42 days, during a period following the London attacks of 2005 when our intelligence agencies were trying to adapt to a new reality and the terrorist threat level was higher than it is now. Yet it is now proposed that the same threshold of reasonable suspicion should be the benchmark for an indefinite period of relocation to a strange town, accompanied by comprehensive surveillance and the most severe restrictions on freedoms to associate, to communicate, to work and to study; and with judicial supervision which, because of the highly classified nature of the intelligence that tends to be relied on, can operate only long after the event and with all the well-known constraints that attend closed material proceedings.
The Minister will point out, fairly enough, that other criteria must also be satisfied before TPIMs can be imposed. It is perfectly true that, under the terms of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, the Secretary of State must reasonably consider a TPIM notice to be necessary to protect the public. But it would be a brave court which—applying the judicial review test as it is directed to do—would second-guess such an evaluation by an elected Minister with full access to the intelligence. The only truly fact-dependent element of the test is the Minister’s assessment of involvement in terrorism-related activity. That is why Clause 37 is so significant: it makes legal challenge harder by lowering the bar that the Minister must surmount on the element of the test that is best suited to adjudication.
In view of what I have just said, some of your Lordships may be surprised by the modesty of Amendment 27. Unlike its companions in this group, it leaves in place the lower, reasonable suspicion standard for the first year of any TPIM. It does so in an attempt to meet a point previously made by the Government: that there may be urgent cases in which the higher standard cannot be met immediately. Whether that is a merely theoretical point or whether there is a basis for it in experience, I do not know, and I will keep my ears open. However, the words that I have quoted from the Minister in the Commons tend to suggest the former.
I am conscious that the standard to which the Government wish to return is that which was in place when control orders were first introduced in 2005. At that time, we had little experience of the deadly new threat from al-Qaeda-inspired and al-Qaeda-directed terrorism in the UK and no experience of orders of this kind. But the competing standards of proof have been tested over a period of years. The evidence is now in and the results seem to be, by the Minister’s own admission in the Commons, incontrovertible: the lower standard restricts basic liberties without keeping us any safer. In that connection, I was interested to see that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, from the Opposition Front Bench has put his name to Amendment 28, which is even a little stronger than mine. I beg to move.
My Lords, given the experience of those who have put their names to the amendments in this group, I wonder whether I should say nothing so as not to damage the arguments—but I will join in.
It will be clear enough to the Committee that we on these Benches have considerable concerns about this part of the Bill. I hope that the Committee will understand that this does not mean that we do not take very seriously indeed the threat and actuality of terrorism and the work undertaken by our agencies. I say that because our amendments to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, which we completed earlier, seemed to be heard by some noble Lords as opposition to covert sources period when we were directing ourselves to authorisations to commit crime by the mechanism of making the action not a crime. I do not want too much to be read into what I am saying. This is not opposition, as I say, to the work of those who keep us as safe as they possibly can.
We are not hugely keen on TPIMs, especially on their acquiring extensions that take them back closer to control orders. We consider it appropriate to test these administrative measures in terms of how they measure up to the presumption of innocence, fair trial, liberty and all the matters that we as a society hold to be important, knowing the damage that might be done by letting them slip. We are of course aware of the Government’s argument that it is not the TPIMs themselves that we should be looking to, but the application of particular measures. If you look at that from a slightly different perspective, it is a good argument for legislative safeguards.
At the time of the last three-monthly report to Parliament on 30 November, only three TPIM notices were in force, there having been six the previous May. That begs the question as to the need for these clauses. The Home Office fact sheet on lowering the standard of proof tells us that this would
“increase flexibility by making it more practical for operational partners to demonstrate an individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity.”
That requirement should indeed be more than merely suspected.
The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, referred to the statement in the Commons by the Minister. The current standard of proof does not seem to have prevented the imposition of TPIMs. The current independent reviewer has made the same point, so this is not even a matter of administrative convenience. These measures may be civil but they can, quite understandably, be perceived as a parallel system of punishment without trial, but currently on the basis of the civil standard.
The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, seek to meet the Government part way. We take the view that the alterations are not justified. I have referred to the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. To quote from his note on this part of the Bill,
“it is inevitable from the nature of intelligence that mistakes may be made. The significance of an individual’s actions may potentially be misinterpreted; their adherence to a cause overstated; their intentions misunderstood, if only partially. A safeguard that requires the Secretary of State to consider the intelligence presented to her by officials, and decide whether the individual has actually been involved in the terrorist-related activity that is alleged against them, and which allows a court to review that decision in the light of all information presented to it, is not an impediment to safeguarding national security.”
We oppose this clause standing part of the Bill.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, spoke with such eloquence in making all the points that I can confine myself to making four short points.
First, as he rightly stressed, this is an important part of the conditions for TPIMs because it enables a judge and the Home Secretary, when making the decision, to concentrate on the factual evidence in relation to terrorist activity. The other conditions are more difficult to establish, or it might be more a question of judgment, but this at least concentrates on the facts.
Secondly, the amendment seeks what some may feel is an overgenerous compromise. I do not think so; I think that it is right to say that, for the first and initial period, a lower standard can be acceptable.
However, thirdly, that cannot be acceptable when one is looking at longer periods where a person’s liberty is to be constrained—particularly with the amendment that we will come to next, which concerns the indefinite detention period.
Fourthly, and finally, it seems to me that there can be no justification for making such a change unless there is evidence. Indeed, what was said about the position in the other place has been clearly set out.
I ask the Minister to set out fully what he believes is the evidence for this change. If he cannot do so in public on this occasion, there must be a means of informing those who are interested in this matter of the evidence so that it can be carefully reviewed before we impose on people accused of obviously very serious issues a standard of proof that really is completely unacceptable in any civilised society.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, has given your Lordships a very clear and succinct history of control orders and TPIMs—as one would expect, given his experience. He pointed out very fairly that control orders had the very same test that it is now proposed in the Bill should be used to decide whether a TPIM is appropriate. It is also worth pointing out that control orders were highly controversial and subject to a considerable number of challenges in the courts to see whether they survived a proper challenge based on the European Court of Human Rights and the convention. They survived that, which will reassure your Lordships.
I accept that the amendment put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, which is supported by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, is relatively modest, and I understand the reasoning for it, whereas the amendment put forward by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, goes rather further and seems to involve a degree of subjectivity—although I will listen with interest to what he says—and that subjectivity might be difficult to satisfy.
As I understand it, these TPIMs are very much a last resort. Before they are sought, a decision has to be made about whether the criteria are satisfied, and then a court will review them, subject to the limitations pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and the subject of a TPIM has a chance to challenge that review. The fact that, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, pointed out, only three people are subject to TPIMs at the moment shows how sparingly they are used. As I understand it, they are very resource-heavy, and they are clearly suboptimal. What is plainly much more desirable is that there should be a prosecution, which is why control orders and their successors TPIMs have been so controversial but, subject to all those reservations, they clearly have their uses.
However, I ask myself why there is a change in the standard of proof. Has there been real difficulty in obtaining these TPIMs in the relatively rare circumstances in which they are considered appropriate? I, too, read what the Minister in the House of Commons said about the lack of difficulty in obtaining TPIMs, so I asked myself in what circumstances this change in the standard of proof would help. Are there circumstances in which a TPIM might be obtained with the new provisions which would not have been under the existing provisions? I ask that question genuinely not knowing the answer. Is it, perhaps, because there may be real fears about what those who return from war in Syria might do, but just not quite enough to satisfy the old test and so would satisfy only the new test? I do not know. It may be that there is a suggestion of radicalisation with very serious consequences—and we know what they might be—but it does not quite get over this hurdle. I do not know. It is clearly very important that there should be this provision. It is subject to very considerable safeguards, but at the moment I am rather neutral on the question.
I do not share the hostility of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, to TPIMs as a whole, but I say they should be used sparingly. Of course, she will remember that TPIMs were brought in when the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were in coalition, so there may not have been much enthusiasm on their part, but TPIMs were part of government policy. They were actually a modification of the Labour Party’s control orders so long ago. This is a difficult area. I look forward to the Minister’s clarification of the thinking behind this change.
My Lords, I draw the Committee’s attention to my interest in criminal justice matters, specifically as chair of the Greater Manchester Police independent ethics committee, as set out in the register.
I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, for tabling Amendment 28. I also note with interest Amendment 27 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson. His arguments are powerful, not least in distinguishing clearly between belief and a mere suspicion, a distinction which for me as a bishop lies at the heart of my day job.
As I indicated to your Lordships’ House in my maiden speech at Second Reading, this is a Bill that I welcome and support. My city of Manchester has all too recently suffered a terrorist attack that killed 22 innocent people and maimed and traumatised hundreds more. We remain deeply grateful for the support we received from members of this House, government Ministers and many others at that time and since.
What I seek from the Bill are provisions that will most effectively reduce terrorism across our nation. My concern, particularly with regard to this clause, is that sanctions that are deemed by particular sections of the British public as either too severe or to be based on insufficient evidence will prove counterproductive. Measures that are overly harsh or that can plausibly be presented as such breed a sense of injustice and resentment, and if those sanctions appear to be directed against particular sections of the community, that may deepen into alienation, and alienation remains one of the most effective recruiting sergeants for incipient terrorists.
We rightly demand a high level of proof for a criminal conviction and a lesser but still significant standard on the balance of probabilities for civil cases. What we are presented with in Clause 37 as it stands is far weaker. All we are offered as an evidential base for a TPIM is “reasonable grounds for suspecting” an individual. That turn of phrase, suspicion, has a somewhat troubled history. Large sections of our community have, I would argue “reasonable grounds for suspecting” that policing interventions justified by reference to that phrase have been used disproportionately against people of their colour, religion or lifestyle. To apply this suspect standard to something as significant as a TPIM, which may be extended for some years, will increase the very risks to our society that it is intended to address.
In his Amendment 28, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, offers us a modest strengthening of the wording to include a test of probability alongside that of reasonableness. I hope that the Minister will be able indicate to this House that some form of strengthening the clause, either through Amendment 28 or otherwise, will be supported by Her Majesty’s Government as we continue to debate the Bill.
My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the right reverend Prelate, particularly because he and I are cuckoos in this nest of lawyers. I speak in opposition to the Question that Clause 37 stand part of the Bill.
The TPIM system is seriously problematic because it bypasses the criminal justice system to avoid the usual safeguards that protect liberty and fairness. The system allows a Government to rely on secret, undisclosed evidence while bypassing fair-trial rights and impose measures that severely interfere with the right to liberty, privacy, association and movement, and makes a breach of those measures a criminal offence. I do not expect to win the argument today about TPIMs per se but must object in the strongest terms to Clauses 37, 38 and 40. Between them, they make this troubling TPIM system far more constrictive while removing the main current safeguards.
The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, called the combined effect of Clauses 37 and 40 a “double whammy”. Taken together, they significantly lower the burden of proof at the same time as allowing TPIMs to endure forever for a person who has not been formally charged or prosecuted. The independent reviewer made it clear that he supports not changing the burden of proof and advises that it be left as it is. To my knowledge, the Government have yet to come forward with any convincing evidence for hardening the TPIM regime in any of the three ways that these clauses, Clauses 37, 38 and 40, would bring about. Indeed, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation said in his note on the proposed reforms that it is,
“not clear why there is any need to change the law in the manner proposed.”
Even a third-ranking police officer, an assistant chief constable, who was wheeled out to support the Bill in oral evidence to the Bill Committee, conceded that,
“there have not been occasions thus far when the current burden of proof has prevented the application of a TPIM”.—[Official Report, Commons, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Committee, 25/6/20; col. 20.]
Therefore, my two questions to the Minister are: why have the Government ignored the independent reviewer’s advice and where is the evidence to justify that decision? I look forward to his answers. I hope that he can do better than the “another tool in the box” mantra.
Clause 37 will reduce the burden of proof to such a low level as to make it almost no barrier at all. “Reasonable grounds for suspecting” covers a host of situations where an innocent person could unjustly lose their liberty and other rights, perhaps on the basis of a single, flimsy and uncorroborated piece of evidence. The courts have interpreted the standard of suspicion as a belief not that the person is a terrorist, only that they may be a terrorist. If a Minister merely believes that a person may be a terrorist, that is sufficient justification under this clause to impose a TPIM on them. With the best will in the world, this is such a low burden of proof that it makes the ministerial decision to impose a TPIM into a rubber-stamping exercise, more or less, with no constraints on the action whatever. The implications of such a severe and unfettered executive power should worry every Member of this House.
Combined with Clause 38, Clause 37 would mean that a Minister would have the authority to severely constrain the liberty of a possibly innocent person for ever, on the flimsiest justification, possibly cooked up by a rogue policeman, intelligence agent or government official, or it might just be that someone in the chain of command made an innocent mistake. We cannot allow this proposed new power to deprive someone of their liberty and other rights indefinitely—possibly longer than if they were convicted of a terrorist offence in a criminal court—when the process that put them there is so wide open to errors and abuse. There must be a meaningful burden of proof, but Clause 37 removes that. It therefore must not stand part of this Bill.
My Lords, I am delighted to follow the noble Lord, Lord Strasburger. Like him, I have some difficulty with Clauses 37, 38 and 40. I am a non-practising member of the Faculty of Advocates, so I have no direct experience of these issues, but in preparing for today I have been grateful for the excellent briefing that the Law Society of England shared with me. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, for setting out so clearly the thinking behind his Amendment 27. We will hear in a moment the thinking behind Amendment 28 from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
It says something when the past Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and the present one both have enormous difficulties with Clauses 37, 38 and 40 as they stand. Like my noble friend Lord Faulks, I would like to understand the thinking behind why, in the context of this Bill on counterterrorism and sentencing, the Government feel moved to introduce these provisions against the weight of opinion of the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and, so it would appear, legal practitioners on the front line as solicitors dealing with these issues.
I am entirely in agreement with noble Lords who have explained the reasons behind their concerns about Clause 37 as it stands. It will deprive people of their liberty, as it contains measures that would relax the evidential threshold on imposing a TPIM, allowing the Home Secretary to impose one on the basis of having “reasonable grounds for suspecting” rather than being
“satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity”.
I understand that TPIMs are not currently widely used and that only five were in force as of November 2019, so I struggle to understand why we are seeking to change the law in this way. As the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester said in his excellent contribution, we want to have confidence in the legislation. He expressed that his aim is to reduce terrorism and not give any cause to query the legislation before us.
I end my short contribution with a question directly to the Minister. Considering the issues that we have heard about in a number of contributions in this little debate, would he agree with the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and share the misgivings of legal practitioners that this clause is not required? What guarantees can my noble friend give me today that the measures in Clauses 37 and 38 will not lead to an increased use of TPIMs in situations where they are not appropriate? With those few remarks, I look forward to the reply from my noble friend.
My Lords, as my noble friend Lady Hamwee has explained, we wish to see the current arrangements for terrorism prevention and investigation measures remain as they are, despite having concerns about them existing at all. As the name implies, these measures were designed to prevent terrorism while an investigation takes place. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, has explained, intelligence is often received in relation to suspected terrorists that cannot be used in a criminal trial, either because it is not legally admissible or because it would reveal the source and potentially put the source’s life in danger. That needs to be balanced against Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, enshrined in British law by the Human Rights Act 1998. It requires that, in the determination of a person’s civil rights and obligations or for any criminal charge against an individual, everyone is entitled to a fair public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law—this despite what the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, has said about control orders withstanding such challenges in the past.
The answer to these potentially conflicting obligations is TPIMs, which are supposed to be a means of protecting the public while an investigation secures the evidence necessary to convict a person of a criminal offence. They were not intended to be indefinite house arrest without trial. As we will see in the groups that follow, the Government seek to overturn this principle of a time-limited safeguarding tool during an investigation into effectively indefinite deprivation of human rights without trial.
The conditions imposed by a TPIM can be draconian, as the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, said. The subject can be told where to live and have to tell the authorities about anyone else who lives with them. They may need to get permission to stay somewhere else, they may not be allowed to travel outside a specified area without permission, they may have to surrender their passports and they may be prohibited from going to a particular place or area without permission or without being accompanied by a police officer. The authorities can have complete control over the subject’s bank and credit card accounts and they can be told that they cannot possess cash over a certain amount. The authorities can have complete control over the sale or transfer of any property that the subject has and complete control over transferring money to anyone, as well as complete control over use of phones, computers and any other electronic communication device owned or used by the subject or by anyone else who lives with the subject—these measures affect not only the subject but their innocent loved ones as well.
Authorities can have complete control over who the subject meets or communicates with and over where the subject works or studies. The subject may be required to report to a specified police station at specified times and to have their photograph taken at whatever time and location the Secretary of State requires and they can be electronically tagged. On the one hand, noble Lords will understand why the authorities might want to impose such conditions if the person is believed to be a terrorist threat, but they will also understand that TPIMs amount to interference with some of the most fundamental human rights of the subject.
These restrictions on someone’s freedoms and human rights have echoes of the sort of restrictions imposed by ISIS when it declared territory it once held a caliphate. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, said in a Guardian article written when this House was considering the Counter-Terrorism Bill on 13 October 2008,
“we should fight to protect the liberties the terrorists would take from us, not destroy them ourselves.”
The first element the Government want to change through the Bill, which is covered by this group of amendments, is the standard of proof required before someone can be subjected to a TPIM. Originally, as we have heard, in the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 the Secretary of State had to “reasonably believe” that the subject is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity. This was changed by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to the Secretary of State having to be satisfied
“on the balance of probabilities”
—the standard required for a court to be satisfied in a civil case. The Government want to change this standard of proof to
“has reasonable grounds for suspecting”.
A police constable may arrest someone when he has reasonable cause to suspect, and I can tell the Committee from my own personal and professional experience that this is a very low bar indeed. Of course, we are not talking about a police officer detaining someone for a few minutes or a few hours but about restricting someone’s human rights for up to two years, or indefinitely, if the Bill passes unamended. That is a shocking and frightening prospect.
If noble Lords’ common sense and sense of justice are not engaged by my arguments, perhaps they will be convinced by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, whom other noble Lords have mentioned. He has said:
“I am not aware of cases where the authorities would like to have imposed a TPIM if the standard of proof had been lower … If it is right that the current standard of proof is usable and fair, and I think it is, in a word, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”—[Official Report, Commons, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Committee, 25/6/20; cols. 6-7.]
That is actually seven words, but I think we understand what he meant. To which, no doubt, the Government will deploy the same argument successive Labour Governments used in trying unsuccessfully to extend the period that a terror suspect could be detained by the police without charge, initially under Tony Blair’s premiership to 90 days, and subsequently under Gordon Brown to 42 days. Operational partners argued that, although limits on the period a subject could be detained without charge had not been a problem up until then, they could envisage a situation where it might be an issue in the future. I suspect that is similar to the arguments the Government will deploy here. Both times, Parliament resoundingly defeated the proposals.
It is important that we consider the reputation of this country throughout the world for the effective protection of human rights. We should not allow such draconian limits on people’s civil liberties to be imposed on the basis of such a low standard of proof—lower than any court employs, even in civil cases.
The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, in his Amendment 27, offers a compromise, which he is developing a reputation for, trying to steer between what is arguably necessary and reasonable and what he, not without precedent, thinks the Government might accept. He suggests in his amendment that, for the first year, while intelligence-gathering is in its infancy, a TPIM might be imposed on the Government’s standard of “reasonable grounds for suspecting”. After a year, the authorities should have been able to gather sufficient evidence for the Secretary of State to be convinced on the existing balance of probabilities. I see where the noble Lord is coming from but, with the greatest of respect to him, I am with the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on this one rather than with the former.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, was not only a member of the Labour Governments to which I have just referred but, from memory, was fairly central to the attempts to extend detention without trial. His Amendment 28 would substitute the standard of proof required with
“on the basis of reasonable and probable grounds”.
I look forward to hearing his explanation of how this differs from the existing and government-proposed standards of proof, as, I must confess and with the greatest respect to the noble and learned Lord, when I wrote this speech on Sunday morning I had neither the energy nor the required determination to work it out for myself. Having finished at midnight last night, I have even less energy this evening.
The current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation thinks that we should leave the standard of proof where it is. We agree, which is why we believe that Clause 37 should not stand part of the Bill.
I am delighted to follow the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, as ever. I am sorry that he did not have the energy to get to my amendment, but I completely understand why that would be. The difference between my amendment and that of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, is that mine seeks to unpack what the standard of proof would be; it requires an objective standard of “probable grounds”: in effect, balance of probabilities, but more spelled out. The difference between the amendments is that, in effect, the noble Lord’s amendment would give a year when the lower standard—namely, reasonable suspicion—could apply and thereafter insist on the balance of probabilities. The real difference is that first year of grace which the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, would give to the Government or the Secretary of State to have a lower standard of proof.
Our position on this side of the House is that the TPIM powers have utility to the Government for fighting terrorism. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, indicated clearly the intrusive effect of TPIMs on those subject to them; for example, having to move to a different location, not being entitled to go to particular places, or not being able to associate or communicate with particular people. These are powers of utility for the Government. They are, however, intrusive and infringe against what would otherwise be people’s rights. Before those rights are taken away, it is for this House to decide what the right balance should be between those individuals’ rights and the protection of the public.
All those who have looked at it in any detail, in particular the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and his successor as the terrorism reviewer, take the view that the higher standard of proof from that which the Government currently propose—namely, the balance of probabilities—has not caused them any difficulty in imposing TPIMs where they want to. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, put it, there is no need to lower the standard to keep the public safe.
In addition to the point that no change is required, a significant change is being made to the ability to roll over TPIMs indefinitely, so the consequence of the proposed amendments to the existing law being suggested by the Government in this Bill is to lower the standard of proof for no purpose and to do so on the basis of indefinite restrictions on individuals’ liberty.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester was, in my view, correct to say that the right approach is to ensure that the Government have the right powers but also to ensure that people are confident that they are being properly imposed. If people do not have that confidence, it will cause difficulties down the line.
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.
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.
It is worth reiterating that the standard of proof is just one of five conditions that need to be met to impose a TPIM, and that the other four conditions remain unchanged. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said, my honourable friend Chris Philp has been entirely candid in another place, on behalf of the Government, that the Security Service has not been prevented from imposing a TPIM under the current standard of proof. We are happy to be candid about that, but the fact that it has not been hitherto does not amount to an absence of evidence or justification for this change. We are equally candid that this is about future-proofing the legislation, because the TPIM cases of tomorrow may differ from the TPIM cases of today. We are happy to say that the benefits here may perhaps be marginal but in matters of counterterrorism small margins can save lives and help protect the public.
I hope that addresses the point raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who asked about the evidence for changing the standard of proof. In any event, as my noble friend Lord Faulks pointed out straight after the noble and learned Lord had posed the question, this was the standard of proof used for control orders when they existed. Those were well tested in the courts and found to be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, asked whether we are ignoring the views of the independent reviewer. We are not; we are extremely grateful to him for his work. It is natural that Governments’ operational partners and independent reviewers will not always reach the same conclusions. Indeed, as has been noted in this debate, independent reviewers do not always reach the same conclusions as each other. Another former independent reviewer, the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, has reached a different view, for instance. The independent reviewer’s opinions are rightly made public, so that the public and Parliament—in both your Lordships’ House and another place—can probe the Government, as we are doing today in Committee. The independent reviewer will of course continue to provide extremely valuable oversight and challenge under the Bill’s proposals.
A number of other questions were raised, particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, which I am conscious we will come to in later groups. We have many groups which we need to cover today, so I hope noble Lords will forgive me if I return to those points in later debates. The Government’s first priority is, as I say, the protection of the public. That is why we have proposed lowering the standard of proof, and why we urge the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.
I have received one request to speak after the Minister and I call the noble Lord, Lord Paddick.
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”.
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.
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.
Amendment 27 withdrawn.
Amendment 28 not moved.
Clause 37 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 29. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in the debate.
Clause 38: TPIMs: extension of time limit
29: Clause 38, page 35, line 2, at end insert—
“(za) in subsection (3)(a), after “met” insert “and the court gives the Secretary of State permission”;(zb) after subsection (3), insert—“(3A) In determining the extension, the court must apply the principles applicable on an application for judicial review.”
My Lords, we have Amendment 29 in this group, and we oppose Clause 38 standing part of the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Anderson, has Amendment 30. The clause allows for repeated renewals a year at a time, instead of the two-year time limit. I should perhaps acknowledge that the rubric or clause heading is “extension of time limit”. However, I noted that the Minister, in responding to the last group, referred to an “enduring TPIM”.
It is difficult to disaggregate the changes and their impact, because they will be cumulative, but this group of amendments is about the time limit. So, when he focuses on that, I hope that the Minister can share with the Committee real cases where the expiry of a TPIM has caused a problem. In other words, this is a parallel question to the questions asked and the points put in the debate on the last group regarding the standard.
TPIMs were originally intended as targeted temporary measures under emergency legislation that Parliament had to reapprove each year. As I have said, our concerns about the standard are compounded by the removal of the time limit with no additional safeguards. Even if the notice has been revoked and revived, or expired, it seems that it can be continued. Can the Minister help me by confirming whether, once subject to a TPIM—at any rate, one imposed after this Bill has been enacted—one is always subject to it being reimposed? I am intrigued that the extension cannot apply to a current TPIM but, presumably, there is nothing to stop there being a new TPIM. What is the difference between the current three measures in force, which I referred to in the previous group, and those which are expected to come within the scope of this clause?
The current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is critical in his notes on this, as on the previous point. He says:
“If there is an operational need … despite the fact that fresh terrorism-related activity cannot be shown … it should be possible for the Home Secretary”
to be satisfied that there is an “exceptional or compelling case” to go beyond two years. He comments on processes, described as a “tick in the box”, the absence of judicial oversight, and the lack of an upper limit to ensure that different cases are not parked—or, as he says,
“at the very least, a requirement to specify an exit strategy including how the severest measures … can be tapered off.”
The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, referred to a reduction in conditions—for instance, being able to associate with more people as years go by. Combined with the comment about an exit strategy, that seems to be extremely important, but this is the first time I have heard about the reduction in conditions. It would be very reassuring to know that this is as much a part of the Government’s programme as the other points we are considering. References to flexibility and tools really do not meet the point; one would expect those who are operational to want as many tools as possible. I look forward to other comments on the time limits and to hearing more of the Government’s thinking on why they have included this provision in the Bill. I beg to move.
My Lords, I will speak in this group to Amendment 30, which I have signed, together with my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. Clause 38, to which all these amendments relate, seeks to return in another respect to the days of control orders by removing the maximum time limit on TPIMs. Though I oppose Clause 38, as I did Clause 37 in the previous group, I would accept that the issues in this group are less clear-cut and the right solution less obvious.
In a report on the control order regime published in March 2012, shortly after that regime came to an end, I described control orders as an effective means of protecting the public from a small number of suspected terrorists who presented a substantial risk to national security but whom it was not feasible to prosecute. I observed a conscientious administrative procedure, coupled with close judicial scrutiny, which ensured a substantial degree of fairness to the subject. However, I added that those individuals were placed under extraordinary and intrusive restrictions; that this could go on indefinitely; that legal review was far from immediate; and that when the hearing did come around, controlled persons spent crucial parts of it excluded from the court, oblivious both of the detailed accusations made against them and of the submissions made by special advocates, who were able neither to communicate fully with them nor to call evidence on their behalf. I concluded that only in the face of strong necessity could it ever be justifiable for the individual to be placed in such a position by the state.
As will be the case if Clause 38 is enacted, there was no limit on the number of times a 12-month control order could be extended, so long as the statutory test continued to be met. During the currency of the control order regime, from 2005 to 2011, 15 persons were subject to control orders for more than two years—three of them for periods exceeding four years. Each of the four who had been subject to control orders for more than two years at the end of 2011 were transferred to TPIMs, where, as I recall, they served an additional two years, which was the maximum under that regime unless fresh evidence came to light—it rarely does.
Experience shows, therefore, that where the law has permitted it, Home Secretaries have considered it appropriate to keep British citizens who have never been convicted of a terrorist offence under these kinds of extreme constraints for periods in excess of five years. Indeed, had it not been for the introduction of the two-year limit, as originally recommended for all save exceptional cases by my noble friend Lord Carlile —my predecessor as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation—it is fair to assume that some subjects could have been detained in this way for far longer periods. That has been the experience with other, less all-encompassing executive orders, such as terrorist asset freezes. After all, who wants to be the civil servant or the special adviser to recommend the discharge of a control order, and who wants to be the Secretary of State to agree to it?
At the monthly TPIM review group meetings, at which all subjects were discussed, it became evident to me that the new two-year maximum limit was bringing some benefits. Since it was no longer possible for a TPIM to be used to warehouse a subject indefinitely, more serious and connected thought started to be given to an exit strategy: a suitable job, a suitable course of study, and the forging of new relationships away from the subject’s previous associates. However, as will be equally obvious, there could still be subjects who use their two years to lie low and who might still be adjudged to pose a threat when their TPIM comes to an end. That was the reasoning of those who had requested, agreed to and endorsed control orders for much longer periods than two years. I reported myself in 2013, echoing my noble friend Lord Carlile, that it was tempting to wish for longer than two years in the most serious cases.
If the goal is to minimise the potential threat regardless of the cost to civil liberties, the Government are justified in imposing indefinite executive detention. Yet that goal could also be used to justify warrantless searches of the home and general, suspicionless stop and search. All of us, surely, would instinctively recoil at such measures. I also note that, although they are notionally available in Northern Ireland, no control order or TPIM has, for whatever reason, ever been imposed there. I accept that TPIMs, although so far imposed predominantly, if not exclusively, on Muslims, have so far been only a minor rallying point for grievance: the numbers of TPIMs have been small, and the vast majority of British Muslims are only too glad to see dangerous extremists firmly dealt with. But the echo of internment can still be heard in Northern Ireland, nearly half a century on—a reminder that excess of zeal in this sensitive area can quickly become counterproductive.
There is wisdom in the words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Clarke of Nottingham, who wrote, when Justice Secretary, in 2011:
“The primary role of any government is to keep its citizens safe and free. That means both protecting them from harm and protecting their hard-won liberties.”
Where is the correct balance to be struck? We no longer live in times when a Conservative Government could come into power promising in relation to counterterrorism law, as they did in 2010,
“a correction in favour of liberty”.
So my amendment does not seek a perpetuation of the status quo. Indeed, it would double the current maximum limit, in the absence of additional evidence, to four years, allowing plenty of time to work on TPIM subjects, while still requiring the authorities to focus on an exit strategy. Coupled with the amendment that I have already moved on standard of proof, or one of the other amendments in the previous group, it would represent a toughening of the present regime, while still at least attempting to combine the two imperatives that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Clarke, identified.
Terrorism in this country has cost us almost 100 lives since 9/11, and the threat level, although reduced only yesterday, is still “substantial”. However, as this pandemic reminds us, the existence of a threat cannot by itself dictate where the balance should be struck. The balance is for Parliament, and I suggest that a maximum of four years for these unpalatable measures—tough as it undoubtedly is—gets it about right.
The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, has withdrawn from this group, so I call the next speaker on the list, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.
I want to add only one point to what the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, has just said, because I agree with the entirety of it. That one point is derived from my own experience of dealing with people who were imprisoned indefinitely under the IPP regime. During the hearing of several appeals, it became apparent that indefinite detention often makes someone more dangerous because you take away hope. I very much anticipate that we would never get to the stage where we made TPIMs that lasted for a person’s entire lifetime. The TPIM would have to come to an end at some stage, and, to my mind, giving someone a clear expectation of when the period of restriction is to end helps in dealing with the individual and prevents making him more dangerous by depriving him of any hope.
My Lords, I wish to argue that Clause 38 should not stand part of the Bill. In my contribution on Clause 37, I mentioned my general worries about the TPIM regime and how it circumvents all the safeguards in the criminal justice system. Those safeguards are there for a very good reason: to ensure that our trials are fair and that we do not punish people without a high degree of certainty that they deserve it. However, for the purposes of this debate, I will focus on the process that the imposition of TPIMs follows in place of a proper criminal trial and how unsatisfactory that process is by comparison with the real thing.
For TPIMs, a criminal trial is replaced by civil proceedings before a High Court judge. The Government present evidence to support their case for the target person to have their liberty and their other rights curtailed. I have called them “the target person” rather than “the defendant” because they have not been charged with anything and they are completely unable to defend themselves. That is because the evidence against them is presented in private to the judge without the target person’s knowledge. They are unable to see, challenge or contradict the so-called evidence because neither they nor their lawyer is aware of it. This process, known as closed material proceedings, is a very poor substitute for a proper trial, where evidence is presented in open court and the defendant’s lawyer can challenge it, present other evidence that contradicts it and cross-examine the person who provided it.
I mention all this because Clause 38, if enacted, would mean that a person made the subject of a TPIM in such an unfair and unsafe manner and confined to their home and subjected to other losses of their rights could find themselves in this position indefinitely, for ever, even for the rest of their lives. That is extremely harsh treatment for someone who may be innocent and has not been convicted of any crime. This treatment is far harsher than if they had been convicted in a criminal court and been sentenced to a few years in prison. In the worlds of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, when he was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorist Legislation:
“TPIMs … are as stringent as anything available in a western democracy.”
He considered the case for lifting the two-year cap, as Clause 38 would do, in his report on TPIMs in 2012. He concluded that the two-year limit was an acceptable compromise because two years was a serious length of time in the life of an individual and TPIMs should not be allowed to become a shadow alternative to criminal prosecution. Indeed, the Government themselves endorsed the two-year limit and in 2015 cited the observation of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, that there was no need to “put the clock back”. The Government went further and said:
“The two-year limit is a reminder that executive constraints of this kind are no substitute for the criminal process, and no long-term solution”.
What has changed the Government’s mind such that they wish to turn it into a long-term process? I am hoping the Minister will enlighten the House when he responds, and I hope that this time he can come up with something better than a meaningless reference to flexibility or that there is no need for it now but who knows what we might need in the future. To abolish the two-year time limit and replace it with an indefinite period of successive extensions, without even troubling the court, there would need to be a compelling operational case, would there not? However, no such compelling case has been made. In fact, no case at all has been offered by the Government, so far as I am aware. Given that fact, and given, as I mentioned earlier, the flimsy and unsatisfactory nature of the TPIM process as an alternative to our proper and fair criminal justice system, we cannot countenance allowing TPIMs to be made indefinite by means of Clause 38. It must go.
My Lords, as I said on the previous group, we wish the current arrangements for terrorism prevention and investigation measures to remain as they are. I also said on the previous group that TPIMs were designed to be a temporary measure to protect the public from terrorism while an investigation gathered evidence to put before a criminal court. Currently TPIMs are in force for one year and can be extended by another year only once, although the Home Secretary can impose a new TPIM if necessary. Clause 28 allows a TPIM to be extended indefinitely. We do not believe that Clause 28 should stand part of the Bill, and Jonathan Hall QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation agrees.
As I described in the previous group, the restrictions that can be imposed under a TPIM can in some respects be similar to imprisonment, and in other ways more draconian than imprisonment. The Government do not normally seek to restrict those who can visit you in prison, or take control of your bank account. In important respects, it can be akin to detention without charge.
On the subject of detention without charge, my friend, the late Lord Lester of Herne Hill, also a former member of the Labour Party, said in a debate on a previous Counter-Terrorism Bill on 13 October 2008:
“To those noble Lords who say that the threat of terrorism is so appalling that we must do anything to counter it, logically their position is—or should be—in favour of internment”—
something that the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, has just mentioned—
“without any time limits, until the evidence has been forthcoming. That is what, at the height of the Second World War, Winston Churchill described as,
‘in the highest degree odious’,
and I think he was right … That is why this Committee has a peculiar responsibility today to strike a fair balance, as has been said, between the need to protect the lives of our people against a serious threat of terrorism and the need to uphold our tradition as a country which respects the rule of law”.—[Official Report, 13/10/08; col. 519.]
I think that they were both right. Were all the possible conditions available under TPIMs to be imposed, they would amount to internment. If they were imposed without time limit, it would amount to a breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Jonathan Hall QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, has said:
“The Bill is conspicuous for its lack of safeguards. Safeguards are appropriate however carefully the Home Secretary and her officials consider TPIMs, and however much resource constraints inevitably limit the appetite for more and longer TPIMs.”
He suggests that the Home Secretary should be required to seek the court’s permission for any extension beyond two years, in the same way as she currently does when a TPIM is first made. Our Amendment 29 seeks to impose such a requirement on the Secretary of State.
The current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation goes on to suggest that, at the very least, an upper limit be placed on a TPIM. The master of compromise, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, suggests in his Amendment 30 that there should be a four-year limit, double the current limit but short of indefinite, as the Government seek. I have to say that the noble Lord’s speech this evening was authoritative and convincing.
We believe that this is not a question for compromise but a question of principle. TPIMs are and should remain a temporary means of safeguarding the public during an investigation, and not a form of indefinite detention without trial.
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.
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.
Secondly, extending the maximum duration of a TPIM beyond two years will provide more time for the TPIM subject to engage in rehabilitative programmes, adopt a different lifestyle and break away from their previous extremist contacts, which is a key part of the intention. Unfortunately, within the current time limit, we have seen that certain TPIM subjects are only biding time—that is, waiting for the current maximum of two years to expire with no change to their mindset. This is an issue on which another former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation publicly reported. There needs to be more incentive—a carrot-and-stick approach, if you like—for subjects to engage with rehabilitative measures and demonstrate that the TPIM notice is no longer necessary.
Thirdly, removing the time limit will multiply the benefits of the TPIM by restricting the TPIM subject’s involvement in terrorism-related activity, supporting efforts to degrade the subject’s wider network—should they belong to one—and reducing the wider long-term threat from others who may have been influenced by them, were it not for the TPIM measures, particularly in the case of known charismatic radicalisers. I acknowledge that the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, still provides for those benefits. However, I should also be clear that it does so to a more limited extent than the Government would like, which is why they cannot accept it.
The Government believe that a TPIM imposed for the purposes of public protection should be removed only when the risk to the public has been managed. By imposing a maximum length, even four years as the amendment would do, which would be known by the TPIM subject, there would still be a potential cliff edge at the end of the TPIM rather than it being capable of renewal for as long as is needed. Clause 38 will not alter condition (c) of the TPIM Act, which requires, as I said previously, that the Home Secretary reasonably considers it necessary to impose a TPIM for the purposes of protecting the public from a risk of terrorism. If necessity can no longer be demonstrated, the TPIM must be removed, regardless of the removal of the time limit in Clause 38.
There is clear precedent for the Government’s approach under the control order regime, as I have mentioned, the framework for which was heavily tested in court and found to be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. As was acknowledged in the report of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, on control orders in 2011, there were many cases in which the Government either revoked or decided not to renew a control order on the grounds that the necessity test was no longer satisfied. A similar approach will be taken with TPIMs following the commencement of Clause 38.
Within the lifetime of control orders, three exceptionally dangerous individuals were subject to an order for between four and five years. That underscores why the Government are not prepared to accept a four-year limit, as proposed in this amendment. All TPIM notices are subject to regular scrutiny, including through quarterly and annual reviews, and where it is no longer considered necessary and proportionate to extend or maintain a TPIM notice, it will not be extended or will be revoked. The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is invited to attend the review meetings. Through those regular meetings, key considerations such as the case for the individual’s prosecution and their TPIM exit strategy, both of which are extremely important, are kept under careful review. The former independent reviewer Max Hill’s report, The Terrorism Acts in 2017, provided a positive assessment of TPIM review group meetings, including the careful monitoring of the proportionality of the measures in place and the exit strategy for the individual. Again, this will not change with the changes proposed in this Bill.
The TPIM Act includes safeguards for the protection of the civil liberties of those subject to TPIM notices. All TPIM subjects are granted an automatic review on the imposition of their TPIM notice, and Section 16, as I say, provides an avenue of appeal for subjects who wish to challenge the decision to extend their TPIM notice for a further year. The Government have no desire to keep an individual on a TPIM any longer than is necessary and proportionate. However, protecting the public is the Government’s foremost priority and we must be able to restrict and prevent an individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity for as long as necessary, rather than being confined by an arbitrary time limit on the length of a TPIM, which could put people at risk. These are the reasons why I respectfully urge noble Lords to withdraw their amendment.
My Lords, I have received a request to speak after the Minister from the noble Lord, Lord Paddick.
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?
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.
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.
Amendment 29 withdrawn.
Amendment 30 not moved.
Clause 38 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 30A. I notify noble Lords that at the end of this group we shall have a short break. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate and anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 39: TPIMs: variation of measures
30A: Clause 39, page 35, leave out lines 39 to 41
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would prevent relocation for resource reasons.
My Lords, this takes us to the issue of location and relocation. It was probably very naive of me to be taken aback at seeing the provision for variation expressed in resource terms, though perhaps I should acknowledge the Government’s transparency in doing so in the Bill. The Secretary of State already has wide powers of location and relocation so I would be interested in understanding the balancing factors to be taken into consideration. I ask this because the impact of being lifted from one’s community can be considerable. I realise that community connections may be the problem, but the support of the community can also be very positive.
I appreciate the powers are intended to have a considerable impact, but so might being placed somewhere utterly unfamiliar, where visits from friends and extended family are much more difficult because of distance as well as the deterrence of security clearance. There are more likely to be problems seeking work—if reporting and other conditions permit work—and from being cut off from one’s belief systems when one may have only a tenuous grip on reality. It could be that for that lone wolf—the lone actor, as he was referred to earlier—not being well established in the community is a significant part of the problem, which will be exacerbated.
If there is a family, what about the impact on the spouse and children? I have heard the words “depression”, “anxiety”, “enduring sense of injustice” and “stigma”, applied to how this might be experienced by children. Family cohesion breaking down is unlikely to be beneficial to the management of the subject. I have also heard relocation described as creating toxic social effects. The longer the restrictions go on, the more likely a breach is, because of the loss of hope, to which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, referred. The best course is positive engagement, and we have just been talking about that, but TPIMs seem to be the opposite, and relocation must often mean compounding a disaffection with society. I beg to move.
My Lords, as my noble friend Lady Hamwee said, requiring a TPIM subject to relocate can have significant consequences, particularly, for example, if he or she has school-age children. It is a well-established fact in the rehabilitation of offenders that social ties are powerful in preventing reoffending. Relocating to another part of the country, presumably, would have the opposite effect.
Clearly, if there is a national security issue that requires the TPIM subject to be relocated somewhere they are not easily in contact with people they should not be in contact with, relocation should be considered. But to allow relocation simply to save police resources seems neither necessary nor proportionate.
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.
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.
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.
Amendment 30A withdrawn.
Amendment 30B not moved.
Clause 39 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with the Question that Clause 40 stand part of the Bill. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 40: TPIMs: extension of residence measure
Debate on whether Clause 40 should stand part of the Bill.
My Lords, Clause 40 stand part is grouped with Amendment 31 in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Bach, which is very different. I shall confine my remarks to the clause. A curfew can be more than overnight. All the points about amendments we have debated this evening are relevant to the time—the hours of the day and night—during which a subject may be required to remain wherever he is living—plus, of course, in particular, engaging Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, on the deprivation of liberty.
The ECHR memorandum published with the Bill is explicit that this provision is so that an individual can be required to observe longer curfew hours. That is not a justification, however. We have some case law, as I am sure other noble Lords may mention. In JJ, Lord Bingham said that account should be taken of
“a range of factors such as the nature, duration, effects and manner of execution or implementation”
of a measure—very much as noble Lords said on a previous group. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown, took the view that the absolute limit was 16 hours, and I understand that no curfew has been for a period longer than 16 hours since.
The ECHR memorandum makes the point that the principle of curfew does not breach Article 5, and I take that point, but the particular issue I want to raise in this connection is that the clause—that is, the change—makes it that much easier for the limits to be pushed longer and longer and throws on the individual the need to challenge them, rather than having clear limits set on the Secretary of State through legislation.
I am sure that noble Lords will understand, when it comes to the appetite, and indeed the ability, of an individual to challenge each measure, or extended measure, it is not an easy task. The balance—I think it is called “equality of arms”—moves completely out of balance through this clause. I beg to move.
My Lords, rather like the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I am not sure that our two amendments have any connection whatever. None the less, it is a pleasure to be able to make this short intervention on the Bill and to probe just a little more than I did at Second Reading the role of police and crime commissioners.
I do support the strengthening of the TPIM provisions. That the Government would have to do so was entirely foreseeable in 2011, when the coalition Government insisted on the abolition of control orders, despite the warnings that I and other noble Lords gave at the time.
My amendment was drafted after discussions with the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson. Clearly, the provisions are potentially extremely resource-intensive and need to be used proportionately and only when absolutely necessary. I would like to make two specific comments.
As the thresholds for a TPIM are lowered and the range of measures extended, it is important that greater scrutiny and oversight are implemented to give reassurance to individuals and communities that the legislation is being used fairly. These are of course issues of grave national security concern. The oversight offered by a police and crime commissioner could help to give the Home Secretary reassurance that full consideration had been given ahead of any decision regarding a TPIM. Local oversight could also enhance the ability of the Home Secretary to make an informed decision when considering a TPIM application, variation or extension. It would enable PCCs to submit any additional information or make recommendations to the Home Secretary in respect of the community impact and the impact on local police force resources—which, as has already been discussed, can be intensive for a TPIM.
It is not entirely clear how police and crime commissioners are currently made aware of TPIMs within their local area. Certainly, the chief constable should advise the police and crime commissioner when a TPIM is being considered, but there are no clear guidelines on how this should take place. My amendment would formalise this process. We know that the number of TPIMs in place nationally is small, and therefore it should not be envisaged that this additional step in the process would present a burden for police and crime commissioners or forces. As part of this process, the information would of course have to be shared within the most appropriate, secure environment.
At Second Reading, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, responded to that point by saying that the Home Office already works very closely with the police before a TPIM is imposed and during its lifetime. She went on to say:
“The process ensures that TPIMs are imposed only following engagement with the relevant local police force and that community impact assessments are kept up to date.”
She then said:
“The Bill already contains a clause that will allow a TPIM subject’s relocation measure to be varied where necessary on operational resource grounds.”
On those grounds, she considered that my
“proposed amendment for an additional role for PCCs … in TPIM processes is … not necessary.”—[Official Report, 21/9/20; col. 1653.]
That was disappointing. The key issue here is that TPIMs are an intervention that places significant restrictions on a person’s life, based on the balance of probabilities. Given that, PCCs could add value in the process by seeking reassurance that due process had been followed. I remind the Minister that they do this for other policing powers that might be regarded as controversial, including stop and search and the use of covert services, and it would be appropriate if it were extended to TPIMs. I commend the amendment and hope that the Minister will be sympathetic.
My Lords, I have just a little to add to what has already been said about Clause 40.
The current requirement that a residence condition be “overnight” has acted as a limitation on the maximum length of the nightly period of house arrest that may be imposed under a TPIM; the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, referred to some of the case law on this subject. Confinement to the home during substantial parts of the day may sound almost familiar in times of Covid but it would represent a major reversal of past practice. I see that my own 2012 report, to which the Minister was kind enough to refer, confirms that even control orders featured curfews of only up to 16 hours.
In that context, I have three questions. First, if Clause 40 is passed into law, for how many hours a day will it be permissible to confine TPIM subjects to their designated residences if that is considered, in the Minister’s words, “necessary and proportionate”? Is there any reason why it should not be for 23 or, indeed, 24 hours?
Secondly, what are the specific circumstances that make it necessary for public safety to extend these already formidable powers in this way? If they are to be credible after 15 years of real-world experience, please may we have actual examples, even if they must be anonymised, rather than hypothetical ones?
Thirdly, and more generally, my sense from the last few debates is that the Government will have to work quite hard if they are to persuade noble Lords of the operational case for some of these changes—particularly as they appear not to have persuaded their own independent reviewer, with all his privileged access to classified material. What proposals does the Minister have in that regard?
My Lords, I declare my interest as the elected and serving police and crime commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. I have been in that post for nearly five years now but in three months’ time, if the 6 May elections take place as the Government propose, I will no longer have this interest to declare. I look forward to once again playing a greater role in your Lordships’ House.
However, when, as in this Bill, issues of delicate constitutional importance arise—issues that affect the relationship between the state, in the guise of the Home Secretary and the police, and the individual, in the guise here of the reasonably suspected person—surely it is important to examine with great care, as this House always does and clearly has done today, the implications for the rule of law and individual liberty. That is why I put my name to my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath’s Amendment 31, which, strangely, is in this group.
Amendment 31 suggests a practical and sensible way forward—one that balances the interests of all involved, I would argue. It suggests a role for police and crime commissioners that seems entirely appropriate and consistent with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. When the coalition Government proposed the setting up of what I will call PCCs, they deliberately gave them considerable responsibilities and powers. Not only were they described as the “local policing body”; the Policing Protocol Order 2011 insisted that police and crime commissioners had a role in the “totality of policing”. Sometimes, it seems as though the then Government’s intentions, as contained in the Act passed by Parliament, have not always been fulfilled by succeeding Governments, who, although keen to support the legislation, seem to draw back from some of its consequences. I very much hope that the way in which the Minister deals with this amendment will show that I am wrong.
Of course, we all agree that strong powers are needed to protect society from those who would use, aid or support terrorism to get their own way. In this Bill, there is an obvious intention to strengthen the power of the state against the individual, pointed out repeatedly by noble Lords from all sides. This involves the removal of basic safeguards, as we have heard today: first, the need for there merely to be reasonable suspicion, rather than proof of a balance of probabilities, and, secondly, the open-ended nature of a TPIM. The dangers of that last approach were referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, in the context of recent public prevention legislation. Immense executive power attaches to the Home Secretary and the police, who are tasked with TPIM powers.
The argument for this amendment is straightforward. Would it not be preferable for extended powers at least to be balanced by a practical step that, while not putting anybody at risk, can satisfy the need to ensure that another voice is heard—that of the elected police and crime commissioner, who is there to represent all those who live in the force area? We were reminded at Second Reading by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester that support in the community is our strongest force against extremism. Police and crime commissioners are there to represent their communities. They already do so in pretty sensitive areas, such as stop and search. Why should they not play a role in this area too?
As my noble friend Lord Hunt said in moving Amendment 31, no one is suggesting that the police will not play the major role. Police and crime commissioners’ role would be limited but significant. The police and crime commissioner’s six-monthly report on a TPIM would set out an assessment of the impact of enforcing the TPIM on efficiency and effectiveness. It would also look at public confidence in the TPIM and its efficacy in securing the prevention and detection of crime.
My noble friend was right to point out that police and crime commissioners can add significant value in this process. It is exactly the sort of role that Parliament and the Government intended police and crime commissioners to play when the 2011 Act was before us. It is a role that they play in other sensitive areas. Why should they not play a role here when community reassurance is so crucial to the success, or otherwise, of this policy?
My Lords, as we have heard, Clause 40 will allow the Secretary of State to extend the overnight curfew on a person subject to a TPIM to the maximum: every hour of every day. If the clause passes into law, it will mean that a person who has not been convicted of any offence can be condemned to full-time house arrest indefinitely, possibly until their death.
It so happens that we are all experiencing a very mild form of this regime right now during the Covid pandemic lockdown. I say a mild form because we are allowed to go to work. We can get out for exercise, to buy food, to seek medical advice or for a host of other exceptions. We know that this confinement, with all its exceptions, will last for only a few weeks, or at most months. Even so, cabin fever is rife and the increase in mental illness in the community is very real and alarming.
Imagine, if you will, how it would be if this serious constraint on our way of life and infringement of our liberties was permanent and without any of the opportunities to get out of the house that we have under lockdown. It would be unbearable. In some ways, it would be worse than a long prison sentence. In a maximum security prison, you still get some exercise outside your cell every day. But this is what the Government intend to be able to do to people who may well be innocent, whose incarceration has occurred without the Government even having to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt or on the balance of probabilities.
Under Clause 37, a Minister would merely need to suspect that they may be a terrorist—a truly flimsy threshold of proof, which is so insignificant as to be pointless and non-existent. Nevertheless, on this flimsy basis, Clause 40 allows a Minister to condemn a quite possibly innocent person to indefinite full-time detention in their home. Can the Minister please give a meaningful explanation or operational case for this change? In doing so, if he is going to deploy the flexibility argument again, could he explain who needs the flexibility, to do what and why? It is seriously unconvincing to me.
This change to the TPIM regime is cruel, inhumane and unfair. It must be seriously damaging to the subject’s mental health and that of those around him or her. This House must expunge this clause from the Bill.
My Lords, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we believe that the existing TPIMs are sufficient and are at the limits of what a country that has a reputation for upholding human rights should tolerate. The extension proposed in Clause 40 would extend the requirement to remain at or within a specified residence from “overnight” to what could amount to total house arrest. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, said, that is a requirement to remain at or within the specified residence between any hours. “As are specified” is yet another step too far, as my noble friend Lord Strasburger said.
On Amendment 31, I commend the noble Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath and Lord Bach, for their relentless attempts to get police and crime commissioners more involved in operational policing decisions, including operations that may have national security implications. I accept that stop and search may be considered controversial, but it does not involve issues of national security of this nature, and I am not convinced that their amendment is necessary or desirable in this case.
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.
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.
The noble Lord, Lord Strasburger, asked me to give some concrete examples; I am happy to do that. A TPIM subject who is a radicalising threat to children, for instance, might have a curfew imposed between 8 pm and 9.30 am and 3 pm and 4.30 pm every Monday to Friday to prevent them interacting with children and students on their way to and from school. These curfews could be in addition to an overnight requirement between, say, 8 pm and 6 am every night. To give another example, a TPIM subject might be a suspected attack planner, and a curfew could be imposed for weekends during local football games to ensure that the subject is at home and away from crowded places during those matches.
It is important to highlight that the total number of hours for which a TPIM subject could be restricted to their place of residence through this measure will be subject to the overriding restrictions on length of curfews established by case law relating to Article 5 of the ECHR. We are clear that this measure should not, and will not, amount to an unlawful deprivation of the individual’s liberty. To answer the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, we are not proposing to specify a time limit in the legislation because we do not think that is necessary. We are aware of the case law that exists on this issue, which guides that, in practice, the residence measure placed on a TPIM subject would likely not exceed 16 hours a day without constituting an unlawful deprivation of liberty.
As with all measures, its applicability will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis in the context of each individual TPIM subject. There will not be a blanket approach to its use. Any recommendations made by operational partners in relation to when a TPIM subject should remain at their place of residence will be imposed by the Home Secretary only after careful consideration as to whether the measure is necessary and proportionate for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity.
I hope that that provides reassurances to noble Lords who have taken part in this debate and I invite them not to oppose the clause.
I have received one request to speak after the Minister, so I call the noble Lord, Lord Paddick.
My Lords, unfortunately, the imperfection of the current system of remote participation means that one has to put in one’s request to speak “after the Minister” before the Minister has finished speaking. If the Minister in his last few sentences answers the question that you were going to ask, your question becomes obsolete, as is the case here.
I now call the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, to respond to the debate.
I am in much the same position as I was with an earlier amendment: I do not see what is not already provided for in current legislation. I would be interested to know whether the examples used by the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson—the radicalising threats to children and the case of someone who is suspected of being a not-yet-fulfilled attack planner—are examples of where the police have had a real problem.
I am not reassured that a measure is “likely” not to be over 16 hours. In response to various questions, we seem to be getting the answer, “It’s necessary because it’s necessary”. We will, of course, think about this particular aspect after today; tonight, I will not seek to oppose this clause standing part of the Bill.
Clause 40 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 30C. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this amendment, or anything else in this group, to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 41: TPIMs: polygraph measure
30C: Clause 41, page 37, line 10, after “necessary” insert “subject to the requirements of section 12 of this Act”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would ensure section 12 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 is not overridden.
My Lords, we have Amendments 30C and 30D in this group, as well as the clause stand part debate. These take us to polygraph measures, where we were not so many hours ago in connection with terrorist offenders—those were, of course, “offenders”, while the individuals subject to TPIMs are not.
If a polygraph measure is imposed as a requirement of a TPIM and the subject refuses to comply, then one asks: so what? That becomes an offence, as I understand it, and the subject would be liable to imprisonment for up to five years and/or an unlimited fine. In an attempt to think about the “so what?” question, Amendment 30C refers to Section 12 of the 2011 Act. That section deals with the variation of measures, with some safeguards. I will not hold it against the noble Lord if he says that the drafting leaves a lot to be desired; I dare say it does. The point is to seek to be sure that what is learned from a polygraph, and so points the examiner and therefore the police in a particular direction, cannot override the safeguards in legislation.
On Amendment 30D, we know that polygraphs cannot be used as evidence in proceedings. Can they be used to point to where there may be evidence? I assume that they can, so will the Minister therefore confirm whether this can be used as evidence of a breach of a TPIM, or to extend or impose a further TPIM? I think the Law Society has made the point—I hope I am not misquoting it—that polygraphs should not be used as a route to impose a TPIM. I beg to move.
The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, has withdrawn from this group, so I call the next speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Paddick.
My Lords, I do not have anything to add on the substance of the amendments which my noble friend Lady Hamwee has outlined. However, I would like to go back to something that my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford raised in relation to the use of polygraph tests on convicted terrorists who were subject to licence: the right to silence. Quite rightly, the noble and learned Lord who was the Minister at the time said that, because these people would be convicted offenders under licence, they had no right to silence. But TPIM subjects are not convicted offenders on licence; they are unconvicted. That is the whole idea of a TPIM, and so they do have a right to silence. The question for the Minister is: would it be a breach of TPIM conditions, which is a criminal offence for which the person could be sent to prison, if they refuse to participate in a polygraph test or if, in a polygraph test, they refuse to say anything?
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.
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.
Section 12 of the 2011 Act provides the only mechanism by which the Home Secretary may vary a TPIM subject’s notice and therefore all variations are made in accordance with that section. This is the case regardless of the provenance of the information considered when assessing whether a variation is necessary. Any other variation would, quite simply, be unlawful. If, however, the intention behind the amendment is to prohibit a TPIM subject’s measures from being varied on the basis of information derived from a polygraph, the Government cannot accept that either. We have already set out the potential benefits of adding the new polygraph measure to Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act so I will not repeat them other than simply to repeat that this is about supporting our operational partners to assess an individual’s compliance with their TPIM notice.
I turn now to Amendment 30D. As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has said, the drafting at this stage is not the critical thing. If I understand the amendment correctly, however, it appears to confuse and conflate the licence condition and the TPIM polygraph clauses. Again, we consider that to be unnecessary. On the TPIM clauses, Amendment 30D seeks to prohibit the extension or imposition of a TPIM notice on the basis of information derived from a polygraph test. That is unnecessary because Clause 41 does not permit information from a polygraph test to be used to extend or impose a TPIM notice. The clause would allow the Home Secretary to impose a requirement on an individual who is subject to a TPIM notice to participate in polygraph sessions for the purposes of monitoring the individual’s compliance with other specified measures and assessing whether any variation of the specified measures is necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting their involvement in terrorism-related activity. These are the only purposes for which information derived from a polygraph measure imposed under a TPIM may be used. Variation of the specified measures means variation of the measures set out in Schedule 1 to the TPIM Act 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 the Act, not by way of varying measures. Clause 41 does not therefore provide for information derived from a polygraph to be used to extend a TPIM notice, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, asked, and any attempt to do so would be unlawful.
I hope that this covers the questions raised by noble Lords. We have gone through the amendments quite quickly, so I will pay particular attention to the Official Report and make sure that I pick up on any questions that I have inadvertently missed. However, I invite the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.
Amendment 30C withdrawn.
Amendment 30D not moved.
Clause 41 agreed.
We now come to the group consisting of Amendment 30E. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this amendment to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 42: TPIMs: drug testing measure
30E: Clause 42, page 38, line 22, at beginning insert “If the Secretary of State reasonably suspects that a requirement is necessary,”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would require reasonable suspicion before a requirement may be imposed under this section.
My Lords, I think that, on the last grouping, the question which lay behind this amendment was answered—but let me just check. Clause 42 covers the drug testing measure. My first thought was whether a subject could be caught up in being tested and fail the test because someone else in the house was using drugs which were detected, perhaps under his fingernail. The amendment raises the issue of reasonable suspicion, but I think the noble Lord has confirmed condition D—that the Secretary of State reasonably considers, in this case, drug testing necessary for the purposes we have talked about. It is the “reasonableness” of that consideration; I think he has confirmed that that will apply. So that he can confirm it again, I beg to move.
My Lords, our Amendment 30E relates to subjecting the subject of a TPIM to drug testing for class A and class B drugs only, at a police station by a constable only. I have rather different questions from those of my noble friend Lady Hamwee. The question I cannot find an answer to—and I cannot think of one myself—is, “Why?” One might cynically argue that a suspected terrorist high on cannabis might be too chilled out to conduct a terrorist attack; conversely, if the Government fear a suspected terrorist might do something stupid, for example being emboldened under the influence of a class A or class B drug, why not test for alcohol?
Bearing in mind the restrictions on the subject’s movements and communications and on who they can associate with, where do the Government think the subject of a TPIM will get his supply of class A or class B drugs? Indeed, if the subject is taking class A or class B drugs, under the noses of the police or security services, does this not raise questions about what else he might be getting his hands on, such as explosives? In short, what is the point, other than placing further restrictions, being even more intrusive and making the subject’s life even more difficult?
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.
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.
Amendment 30E withdrawn.
Clause 42 agreed.
We now come to the group consisting of Amendment 30F. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this amendment to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 43: TPIMs: provision of information
30F: Clause 43, page 39, line 28, leave out from “individual” to end of line 29
Member’s explanatory statement
This purpose of this amendment is to question the disclosure of information about an electronic device used by any other person.
My Lords, Clause 43 is about the provision of information, including information about electronic communication devices—not just devices used by the individual, but those used by any other person in the individual’s residence. I have already referred to the impact of a TPIM on other members of the family. My recollection, which may not be absolutely accurate, is that a child’s lack of access to a computer was one of the things highlighted when control orders were abolished. The burden on children is, as I said, considerable, with bullying, confusion, being called a jihadi kid and all those things. This is presumably also one of the occasions when the condition about it being reasonably necessary will apply. Can the Minister confirm that this will not be invariable? In other words, will this disclosure requirement always be applied or will an assessment be made of its necessity? I beg to move.
My Lords, the only thing that I will add to what my noble friend Lady Hamwee has said about this amendment is an assumption that, even if the subject of the TPIM provides the authorities with all the details of his or her communications equipment—computers, mobile phone and so forth—it would be possible that they could end up borrowing a device from somebody else in his or her household. That is what the authorities are seeking disclosure of, to ensure that they keep track of all the communications the subject of the TPIM is engaged in. As my noble friend Lady Hamwee said, the provisions contained within Section 43(2)(a) reinforce the fact that TPIMs can impact to a highly intrusive extent on innocent people living with the subject of the TPIM.
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.
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.
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.
Amendment 30F withdrawn.
Clause 43 agreed.
Amendment 31 not moved.
Clauses 44 and 45 agreed.
Schedule 12 agreed.
Clause 46 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 32. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in debate.
Clause 47: Persons vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism: timing of independent review
32: Clause 47, page 40, line 35, leave out subsection (1) and insert—
“(1) In section 20(9) of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 (persons vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism) omit the words from “within the period” to the end and substitute “by 1 July 2021”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would reinstate a statutory deadline for the independent review of the Prevent strategy, which would have to report by 1 July 2021.
My Lords, my Amendment 32 would put into legislation a deadline for the Prevent review to be published. The Government commissioned the independent review in January 2019; it has been repeatedly delayed and postponed. The initial statutory deadline of 12 August 2020 will now be missed. The Government say that they intend to have the report by the summer of this year, but they will not commit to putting a date in the Bill. We have long campaigned for a wide-ranging and robust review, which we believe is the right approach. This amendment would reinstate a statutory deadline for the independent Prevent review.
Amendment 33 takes a slightly different approach, which is to put in place a timetable. It would ensure that the Prevent review and any recommendations were laid within 12 months rather than 18 months, as the Bill currently states. This issue has been mentioned a number of times in Committee, and I think I can guess what the Minister is going to say in response to these amendments. Nevertheless, we need to be as confident as we can be that we can get this deadline and have a reasonable timetable, because it is important that we get these things right and that people can consider the effectiveness of the Prevent programme. I beg to move.
My Lords, I pay personal tribute to the stamina and persistence of my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lord Paddick. I pay tribute also to the Ministers. The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, came off the bench half way through the second half, and my noble friend Lord Paddick put up a high one, which unfortunately he dropped: the clash between the presumption of innocence and the requirement to answer a question in a polygraph, which I raised earlier. I was not satisfied with the answer that I got—that it is appropriate to question somebody after conviction, when they face a further term of imprisonment, without any form of caution. I do not think that our law is that they have to answer.
The Prevent strategy, with its statutory duty for schools, NHS trusts, prisons and local authorities to report concerns, has received much criticism. It is clear that it has not been thought fit for purpose in the Muslim community, which regards it, rightly or wrongly, as discriminatory. A lack of trust leads to a lack of co-operation. Consequently, the Government should accept the burden of completing at the earliest opportunity the review that they have announced. Deadlines have already been passed. I have no wish to go into the appointments that have been made save to wonder to what extent those who are immediately affected by the strategy have been involved.
As paragraphs 252 and 253 of the Explanatory Notes make clear, the purpose of Section 47 is to remove the statutory deadlines relating to the independent review, although the Government claim that the section does not amend the obligations to which the Secretary of State is subject. The amendment to Section 20(9) of the 2019 Act has the effect of clearing the Government of any responsibility for missing previous deadlines. Nothing is put in its place.
This leaves the completion of the review wholly in the air—a statutory kicking of the can down the road. It follows that both the amendments in the group fill a gap. The amendment in the name of my noble friends would again insert a time limit that ought to be met in the public interest. My noble friend Lord Paddick, speaking on an earlier group, posed the question of why. On this group, I pose the question: when?
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.
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.
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.
Amendment 32 withdrawn.
Amendment 33 not moved.
Clause 47 agreed.
Amendments 34 to 36 not moved.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 37. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate, and that anyone wishing to press this or anything else in this group to a Division must make that clear in the debate.
37: After Clause 47, insert the following new Clause—
“Lone terrorists: review of strategy
(1) The Secretary of State must commission a review and publish a report on the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists.(2) A review under subsection (1) must be conducted by a person who meets the criteria for qualification for appointment to the Supreme Court, as set out in section 25 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (qualification for appointment).(3) A review under subsection (1) must consider—(a) counter-terrorism policy;(b) sentencing policy as it applies to terrorist offenders;(c) the interaction and effectiveness of public services with respect to incidents of lone terrorist attacks.(4) For the purposes of subsection (3)(c), “public services” includes, but is not limited to—(a) probation;(b) the prison system;(c) mental health services;(d) local authorities; and(e) housing providers.(5) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the report before Parliament.(6) A Minister of the Crown must table a motion in the House of Commons in relation to the report no later than three months after the report has been laid before Parliament.”Member’s explanatory statement
This new Clause ensures that the Government orders a judge-led review into the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists including, but not exclusively, current counter-terrorism and sentencing policy.
My Lords, Amendments 37 and 40 concern “lone terrorists” and the review of the strategy concerning them. Amendment 37 ensures that the Government will order a judge-led review into the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists, including, but not limited to, current “counter-terrorism policy” and “sentencing policy”. My right honourable friend Nick Thomas-Symonds has called for such a review, following the shocking and tragic incident in Reading on Saturday 20 June 2020, which was the third time in seven months that such devastation caused by a lone attacker has been seen on UK streets.
The review would undertake an assessment of the systemic response needed to address this threat, building on prior research and expertise. It would include an analysis of various public services: probation services, prisons, mental health services, housing providers and local authorities. Professor Ian Acheson, who completed a report for a Conservative Government, said last year:
“Our unsafe prisons provide a fertile breeding ground in which predators, peddling extremist and violent ideologies, can prey upon the vulnerable, creating significant risks to national security and the public at large.”
What steps are the Government taking to put forward a deradicalisation strategy in the prisons?
Amendment 40 looks at MAPPA—multiagency public protection arrangements—and its purpose is to encourage the Government to define which agencies are included within them. I have received a short briefing on this from Napo, and the point that the probation officers make is that the input into the MAPPA arrangements varies according to the individuals one is dealing with: it may be local faith-based groups, housing providers, social services, education providers or substance misuse agencies—a multitude of organisations could be called on to work within the MAPPA system. In this example—and, I have to say, in all examples that I have come across—the system is all about integrated working, and it would be helpful if the Government could offer some perspective on the agencies that they think should be working within the MAPPA system. I beg to move.
My Lords, the lone terrorist poses a particular danger. “We do not understand them,” said the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, earlier this afternoon. By definition, the lone terrorist is not engaged in communications of any nature that could lead to his apprehension through ordinary surveillance methods and techniques. His motivation may be obscure and entirely personal to himself.
Nevertheless, he can cause huge and unexpected damage, as we saw in the London Bridge episode in Fishmongers’ Hall. In that case, the attacker had been released in the belief that he was no longer a danger to the public—yet, without any obvious motivation, he launched himself against those who were trying to help him.
I support Amendment 37, on the basis that public safety demands that we burrow down into the causes and motivations of the lone actor. The threat to public safety is such that the appointment of a judge, with all the powers that a Supreme Court judge has, is very appropriate.
My Lords, the imperfections of remote working have again unfortunately intervened. I did ask to speak after the Minister on the last group, and I hope the Committee will indulge me if I ask one question of the Minister about the former group. The Government are saying that they hope the new independent reviewer of Prevent will produce his report by August this year. In our amendment, by my calculation, we are setting a deadline of August next year. Perhaps when the Minister responds to this group, he could also answer the question of why a 12-month deadline beyond what the Government are proposing themselves is not considered a reasonable time for that review to be undertaken.
Turning to this group of amendments, Amendment 37 requires a review and report on the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists. Amendment 40 calls for a report on which agencies are included within Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements—or MAPPA—for the purpose of managing terrorist offenders. Both amendments are in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede.
In December 2017, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, published his independent assessment of police and MI5 reviews into the Manchester Arena attack and three other incidents in London—all of which involved lone terrorists—which killed a total of 36 people. The report made 126 recommendations, later consolidated into 104 things that could have been done better by counterterrorism officials.
In 2019, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, published a stocktake of progress on the recommendations in his 2017 report, including multiagency centres for managing the risk posed by those suspected of being engaged in terrorist activity, which presumably includes lone terrorists. I am not sure to what extent the review and reports the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, is calling for overlap with the work of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich. Perhaps the Minister can advise the Committee.
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.
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.
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.
Amendment 37 withdrawn.
Amendments 38 to 40 not moved.
Clause 48 agreed.
My Lords, we now come to the group beginning with Amendment 41, which is all government amendments. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate.
Schedule 13: Consequential and related amendments
41: Schedule 13, page 102, line 13, at end insert —
“(b) in paragraph (a), for “that Act” substitute “the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment makes a further consequential amendment to section 23A of the Terrorism Act 2000 needed as a result of Clause 1 of the Bill.
My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments 42 to 65 inclusive and to Amendments 69, 71, 72, 74 and 76. I make four very short points. First, the hour is late and getting later. Secondly, these are all technical and consequential amendments. Thirdly, we have placed an explanatory note for each of them, which I am sure Members of the Committee will have looked at. Fourthly, I propose to set out in a letter, which I shall place in the Library, a more detailed analysis of the admittedly somewhat arcane and, in many cases, technical and consequential nature of these amendments. I hope that in those circumstances, I can draw my remarks to a close there. Obviously, if noble Lords have specific questions, I will attempt to answer them now, but otherwise, I beg to move.
My Lords, since requests to speak after the Minister are delivered to the Deputy Chairman of Committees by forked stick, perhaps I might comment on the earlier group concerning the review. Mr William Shawcross’s report on compensation for Libyan-backed terrorist atrocities in Northern Ireland was discussed on Monday. It was received by the Government last May but not published, as we have discussed. I hope that any review or report in the field that we have been discussing will not similarly be kept clutched to the Government’s bosom.
I have considered the government amendments to this schedule, and I am satisfied that they are consequential to amendments to legislation made necessary by this Bill and do not contain in themselves any questions of principle. I would not be surprised, given the complexity of the Bill, if other amendments emerged in the course of time.
I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford for doing the heavy lifting in looking at these amendments and reassuring me that there is nothing ugly lurking in the pile. I am grateful for the undertaking from the Minister to write to us with further details.
The only amendment I would like to mention is Amendment 60, which amends Section 250 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 so that, according to the explanatory statement,
“the Parole Board will set the licence conditions for all prisoners to whom section 247A of that Act applies (restricted eligibility for early release) whose release is directed by the Board.”
Is this dealing with licence conditions where there is no right to early release or with licence conditions where there is a right to early release? If so, what is the effect of the amendment? It is the only amendment in this group that looked as if it might be doing something substantive. If the Minister would like to write to me, I will quite understand.
My Lords, I am grateful for the comments of the noble Lords, Lord Thomas of Gresford and Lord Paddick. In response to the specific point put to me by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, in one sentence, the change is needed to ensure that there was clarity over the authority for setting licence conditions for terrorist offenders, whether serving standard, determinate, extended or other sentences. I shall include an explanation of the amendment in my letter. I hope that satisfies him; if he wants any further information, I would of course be happy to provide it.
Amendment 41 agreed.
Amendments 42 to 65
42: Schedule 13, page 102, line 34, at end insert—
“Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (c. 6)
2A_ In section 44(2)(e) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (provisions subject to review by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation), for “Schedule 1” substitute “Schedules A1 and 1”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amends the list of terrorism legislation which is subject to review by the independent reviewer to include the new Schedule A1 inserted into the Sentencing Code by Schedule 1 to the Bill.
43: Schedule 13, page 103, line 5, leave out paragraph 5
Member’s explanatory statement
This removes a repeal to Schedule 2 to the Sentencing (Pre-Consolidation Amendments) Act 2020 that has already been made by the Sentencing Act 2020.
44: Schedule 13, page 103, line 19, at end insert—
“(3A) In Schedule 22, paragraph 4 (prospective addition of offences to Schedule 1 to the Code), and the heading above it, are repealed to the extent that paragraph 4 is not yet in force when section 1 of this Act comes into force.”Member’s explanatory statement
This repeals a prospective amendment to the Sentencing Code made by Schedule 22 to the Sentencing Act 2020. The repealed amendment will be unnecessary if not yet in force when Clause 1 of the Bill comes into force.
45: Schedule 13, page 104, line 20, leave out paragraph (b)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment at page 121, line 17.
46: Schedule 13, page 104, line 30, at end insert—
“(6A) In section 255C (extended sentence prisoners and those not suitable for automatic release)— (a) for the heading, substitute “Prisoners not suitable for automatic release”;(b) in subsection (1)(a), after “prisoner” insert “or a serious terrorism prisoner (see section 255A(7) and (7A))”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This makes a consequential amendment to section 255C of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 reflecting the fact that those serving serious terrorism sentences will not be eligible for automatic further release after recall to prison.
47: Schedule 13, page 106, line 40, leave out sub-paragraph (13)
Member’s explanatory statement
This removes an unnecessary amendment to the Sentencing Code.
48: Schedule 13, page 107, line 20, leave out sub-paragraph (16)
Member’s explanatory statement
This removes an unnecessary amendment to the Sentencing Code.
49: Schedule 13, page 108, line 11, at end insert—
“(21) In section 417(3) (commencement of provisions of Schedule 22 which relate to prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution)—(a) in paragraph (a), for “38” substitute “38B”;(b) in paragraph (d), for “268” substitute “268C”;(c) in paragraph (f), after “paragraphs” insert “68A,”.(22) In Schedule 22 (amendments of the Sentencing Code, including in relation to the prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution)—(a) for paragraph 36 substitute—“36_ In section 15 (committal for sentence of dangerous adult offenders)—(a) in subsection (1)(b), omit—(i) “of detention in a young offender institution or”;(ii) “266 or”;(b) in subsection (1A), omit “268A or”.”;(b) in paragraph 37 (amendments of section 59 of the Code)—(i) for “59(2)(h)” substitute “59(2)”;(ii) after “court)” insert “—(a) in paragraph (ga), for “sections 268B and” substitute “section”;(b) in paragraph (h),”;(c) in paragraph 38 (amendments of section 61 of the Code), after sub-paragraph (a) insert—“(aa) in subsection (2B), omit “268C(2)(b) or”;”;(d) after paragraph 38 insert—“38A_ In section 73(2A) (reduction in serious terrorism sentence for guilty plea), omit “268C(2) or, as the case may be,”.38B_ In section 74(4A) (reduction in serious terrorism sentence for assistance to prosecution), omit “268C(2) or”.”;(e) in paragraph 40 (amendments of section 166 of the Code), for “paragraphs 3 and 4” substitute “entries 3, 4 and 4A”;(f) in paragraph 46 (amendments of section 231 of the Code), at the end insert—“(d) in subsection (6A), for “sections 268C(2)(b) and” substitute “section”.”; (g) after paragraph 57 insert—“57A_ In section 282A (serious terrorism sentence of imprisonment: persons 21 or over), in the heading omit “: persons 21 or over”.57B_ In section 282B (serious terrorism sentence of imprisonment: circumstances in which required), omit subsection (1)(c).”; (h) in paragraph 62 (amendments of section 308(1) of the Code), after paragraph (a) insert—“(aa) in paragraph (aa), omit “268B or”;”;(i) after paragraph 68 insert—“68A_ In section 323 (minimum term order: other life sentences)—(a) in subsection (4), omit “268B(2) or” in both places;(b) in subsection (6)(b), omit “268B(2) or”.”;(j) in paragraph 70 (amendments of section 329 of the Code)—(i) after the opening words insert—“(za) in subsection (3), for “(4) to (5A)” substitute “(4), (4A) and (5)”;(ii) after paragraph (a) insert—“(aa) omit subsection (5A);”;(iii) in paragraph (b), after “(e)” insert “, (ea)”;(k) in paragraph 72 (amendments of section 397(1) of the Code)—(i) the words from “in the definition” to the end become sub- paragraph (a);(ii) at the end insert—“(b) in the definition of “serious terrorism sentence”, omit paragraph (a)(including the word “or” immediately after that paragraph).”;(l) for paragraph 73 (amendments of section 399 of the Code) substitute—“73_ In section 399 (mandatory sentences)—(a) in paragraph (b)—(i) in the opening words, omit “, custody for life”;(ii) in sub-paragraph (i), omit “, 274”;(iii) in sub-paragraph (ii), omit “273 or”;(b) in paragraph (ba), omit “268B or”.”;(m) before paragraph 80 (amendment of Schedule 18 to the Code) insert—“79A_ In Schedule 17A (serious terrorism offences), after paragraph 24 insert—“Space Industry Act 201824A_ An offence under any of the following provisions of Schedule 4 to the Space Industry Act 2018—(a) paragraph 1 (hijacking of spacecraft);(b) paragraph 2 (destroying, damaging or endangering the safety of spacecraft);(c) paragraph 3 (other acts endangering or likely to endanger safety of spacecraft);(d) paragraph 4 (endangering safety at spaceports).””;(n) in paragraph 101 (amendment of section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983)—(i) in sub-paragraph (1), omit “, as amended by paragraph 73 of Schedule 24”;(ii) in sub-paragraph (2), for “273” substitute “268A, 273”;(iii) in sub-paragraph (3), after “(1B)” insert “—(a) in paragraph (aa), omit “section 268A or” and “282B(2) or”;(b) ”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This makes further amendments to Schedule 22 to the Sentencing Act 2020 (prospective amendments to the Sentencing Code in connection with the abolition of detention in a young offender institution) in consequence of the introduction by clauses 4 and 5 of serious terrorism sentences in England and Wales.
50: Schedule 13, page 108, line 15, leave out sub-paragraph (1)
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on the amendment at page 108, line 18.
51: Schedule 13, page 108, line 16, after “398” insert “of the Sentencing Act 2020”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on the amendment at page 108, line 18.
52: Schedule 13, page 108, line 17, at end insert—
“(2A) The amendment made by sub-paragraph (2) does not apply where a person is convicted of an offence before the day on which this paragraph comes into force.”Member’s explanatory statement
This ensures that the transitional provision set out in Clause 21(2) in relation to the introduction of the new Schedule 13 to the Sentencing Code by that Clause also applies to the related consequential amendment.
53: Schedule 13, page 108, line 18, leave out sub-paragraph (3)
Member’s explanatory statement
This leaves out an amendment to the Sentencing Act 2020 which is consequential on Schedule 8 to the Bill rather than Clause 21 (see also amendment at page 119, line 41).
54: Schedule 13, page 110, line 35, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—
“(a) in subsection (6A)(a), for “265” substitute “252A, 265”;”Member’s explanatory statement
This adjusts a consequential amendment to section 264 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to reflect an amendment made to that provision by the Sentencing Act 2020.
55: Schedule 13, page 114, line 17, at end insert—
“(25A) In section 417(3) (commencement of provisions of Schedule 22 which relate to prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution), in paragraph (c), after “51” insert “, 51A”.(25B) In Schedule 22 (amendments of the Sentencing Code, including in relation to prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution)—(a) after paragraph 51 insert—“51A_ In section 252A (special sentence of detention for terrorist offenders of particular concern aged under 18), in subsection (4), for “21” substitute “18”.”;(b) in paragraph 70 (amendment of section 329 of the Sentencing Code in relation to the prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution), before paragraph (a) insert—“(zb) in subsection (4A), omit paragraph (b) (and the word “or” immediately before it);”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This makes further amendments to the Sentencing Act 2020 which are consequential on the introduction of the new sentence for offenders of particular concern aged under 18 at the time of the offence by Clause 22.
56: Schedule 13, page 115, line 19, leave out sub-paragraph (1)
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on the amendment at page 115, line 24
57: Schedule 13, page 115, line 20, after “section 5” insert “of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974”
Member’s explanatory statement
This is consequential on the amendment at page 115, line 24
58: Schedule 13, page 115, line 24, at end insert—
“33A(1) The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it forms part of the law of Scotland is amended as follows. (2) In section 5 (rehabilitation periods for particular sentences)—(a) in subsection (1)(d), after “or section 209” insert “or 224B”;(b) in subsection (2F)(a)(ii), after “209” insert “or 224B”.(3) In section 5B (Table B - disclosure periods: service disciplinary cases), in the sixth entry of Table B, after “209” insert “or 224B”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This makes amendments to section 5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it extends to Scotland, to ensure that section deals with the service equivalent of the new sentence for offenders of particular concern aged under 18 at the time of the offence, introduced by Part 3 of Schedule 8 to the Bill.
59: Schedule 13, page 119, line 41, at end insert—
“(4A) In section 418 (commencement of provisions of Schedule 26 in relation to prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution) after subsection (2) insert—“(2A) Paragraphs 13A, 20A and 24A (and paragraph 1 so far as it relates to them) also come into force at that time.”(4B) In Schedule 25 (amendments of Armed Forces Act 2006), omit paragraph 45(5).(4C) In Schedule 26 (further amendments of the Armed Forces Act 2006 in relation to prospective abolition of sentences of detention in a young offender institution)—(a) after paragraph 13 insert—“13A_ In section 219ZA (serious terrorism sentence for offenders aged 18 or over)—(a) in subsection (1)(e), omit “a sentence of custody for life or (as the case may be)”;(b) omit subsections (4) to (6);(c) in subsection (7), omit “Where the offender is aged 21 or over when convicted of the serious terrorism offence,”.”;(b) in paragraph 14 (amendments of section 219A of the 2006 Act), for sub-paragraph (a) substitute—“(a) in subsection (1)—(i) in paragraph (d), omit sub-paragraphs (i) and (iii);(ii) in paragraph (da), omit sub-paragraph (i);”;(c) in paragraph 15(a) (amendments of section 224A of the 2006 Act), after paragraph (ii) insert—“(iii) in sub-paragraph (iii), for “detention or imprisonment under section 268A or 282A” substitute “imprisonment under section 282A”;”;(d) in paragraph 18 (amendment of section 239 of the 2006 Act), after “pleas)” insert “—(a) in subsection (3A), omit—(i) “(4) or”;(ii) “268A or”;(b) in subsection (3B), omit “268C(2) or, as the case may be,”;(c) ”;(e) in paragraph 19 (amendments of section 260 of the 2006 Act)—(i) in sub-paragraph (a), after paragraph (ii) insert—“(iia) in paragraph (ca), omit “268A or”;”; (ii) for sub-paragraph (b) substitute—“(b) in subsection (4B)—(i) in paragraph (za), omit “268C(2) or”;(ii) in paragraph (a), omit “268(2) or”.”;(f) in paragraph 20 (amendments of section 261 of the 2006 Act), at the end insert— “(c) in paragraph (ba), omit “268A or”.”;(g) after paragraph 20 insert—“20A_ In section 261A(3) (life sentences: further provision)—(a) in paragraph (b), omit “268B(2) or”;(b) in paragraph (c)(i), omit “268B(2) or”.”;(h) in paragraph 21 (amendments of section 262A of the 2006 Act), for the words from “, in subsection (4)” to the end substitute—“(a) in subsection (2A), omit paragraph (b);(b) omit subsection (3A);(c) in subsection (4), omit paragraphs (d), (da), (e) and (f) treated as substituted in subsection (7) of section 329 of the Sentencing Code.”;(i) after paragraph 24 insert—“24A_ In section 304C (to be inserted by the Armed Forces Act 2016: reduction in sentence), in subsection (5A)—(a) omit “268C(2) or”;(b) for “section 219ZA(5) to (8)” substitute “section 219ZA(8)”.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment makes further amendments, to the provisions of the Sentencing Act 2020 dealing with the abolition of detention in a young offender institution, which are consequential on the provisions of the Bill dealing with sentencing under service law.
60: Schedule 13, page 121, line 17, at end insert—
“(2A) In section 250 (licence conditions)—(a) in subsection (5A), in each of paragraphs (a) and (b), after “a prisoner” insert “, other than a terrorist prisoner,”;(b) after subsection (5A) insert—“(5AA) Subsection (5B) also applies to a licence granted, either on initial release or after recall to prison, to a terrorist prisoner in a case where the licence is granted following a direction of the Board for the prisoner’s release.”;(c) omit subsection (5BA);(d) after subsection (8) insert—“(9) In this section “terrorist prisoner” means a prisoner to whom section 247A applies, or would apply but for the prisoner’s having been released on licence.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amends section 250 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 so that the Parole Board will set the licence conditions for all prisoners to whom section 247A of that Act applies (restricted eligibility for early release) whose release is directed by the Board.
61: Schedule 13, page 122, line 2, at end insert—
“Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (c. 49)
45A_ In section 6A(1)(d) of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 (inquiries into detention of children under certain enactments), after “44” insert “, 205ZC(5)”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment enables an inquiry to be held under section 6A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 into the detention of a child under the new terrorism sentence introduced by Clause 23.
62: Schedule 13, page 122, line 2, at end insert—
“Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53)
45B_ In section 5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it forms part of the law of England and Wales (rehabilitation periods for particular sentences), in subsection (1)(d)—(a) for “Act 1975” substitute “Act 1995”;(b) for the words from “section 206” to the end substitute “section 205ZC(5) or 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995;”. 45C_ In section 5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as it forms part of the law of Scotland (rehabilitation periods for particular sentences)—(a) in subsection (1)(da), after “section” insert “205ZA(6)(serious terrorism sentence for young offenders), 205ZC(4) or (5)(terrorism sentence for young offenders or children),”;(b) in subsection (12), in paragraph (b) of the definition of “custodial sentence”, after “44,” insert “205ZA(6), 205ZC(4) or (5),”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This makes amendments to section 5 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 so that it will deal with the new sentences introduced by Clauses 6 and 23.
63: Schedule 13, page 122, line 7, at end insert—
“(1) The Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989 is amended as follows.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment at page 122, line 18.
64: Schedule 13, page 122, line 8, leave out “of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the amendment at page 122, line 18.
65: Schedule 13, page 122, line 18, at end insert—
“(3) In section 40(3)(a)(arrest of absent prisoners: application of section to persons sentenced or ordered to be detained under certain provisions of the 1995 Act), after “205” insert “, 205ZC(5)”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment amends section 40(3)(a) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989 so as to make section 40 applicable in relation to children sentenced to detention under the new terrorism sentence introduced by Clause 23.
Amendments 42 to 65 agreed.
We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 66. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister’s reply should email the clerk during the debate.
66: Schedule 13, page 122, line 21, at end insert—
“(1A) In section 1(3A) (release of short-term, long-term and life prisoners serving concurrent sentences), for “section 1A” substitute “sections 1A and 1B”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is consequential on the insertion of new section 1B of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 made by the amendment at page 123, line 6.
In moving the amendment in the name of my noble friend Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, I shall speak also to Amendments 67 and 70, also in his name. These amendments are intended to modify Scottish provisions on sentencing with the intention of providing that, throughout the United Kingdom, terrorist offenders serve the appropriate custodial period of sentences for terrorism offences. They are made necessary by an aspect of Scottish sentencing practice that does not appear elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
The three amendments, taken together, make provision for technical sentence calculation adjustment. They clarify how terrorism sentences will operate when served consecutively with non-terrorism sentences. The amendments come at the end of a positive engagement with the devolved Government; as a result of that engagement, the Scottish Government have now tabled a legislative consent Motion in respect of this Bill.
As I said in the course of these brief remarks, the amendments are technical in nature and I shall be happy to place detail of them and their implications in a letter in the Library of this House. I beg to move.
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, for moving these amendments and for pronouncing “Tredegar” correctly. I am sure that the noble Lord who hails from, or has a connection with, Tredegar, will be happy with his pronunciation as well. I have looked at these Scottish provisions. I agree that they are technical, and I really have nothing to add.
My Lords, I am minded to say, “Like the last lot”—but I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford, and to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, for his offer to write with details. I would just say that I think it is rather cruel and inhumane to expect three government Ministers to be forced to remain to the end of the evening; perhaps they can come to some better arrangement on a future occasion.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, I too am grateful to the four Ministers for the care and good humour with which they have dealt with it all. Of the three amendments, Amendment 66 looks entirely technical. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart of Dirleton, says, Amendment 67 deals with a situation where you have a non-terrorist sentence and then, consecutively, before or after, a terrorist sentence. I cannot work out how you deal with that situation for the purposes of licences as a result of this amendment. Hopefully, that will be explained to us—for reasons that may be entirely my fault, it is not entirely clear to me from the wording of the amendment. As I understand it, Amendment 70 again deals with the position of consecutive sentences; and again, the effect of that is not entirely clear to me. It might be significant, because what we are dealing with are very long sentences. So I hope that the noble and learned Lord will explain this when he comes to write his letter to us. I am very much obliged.
Amendment 66 agreed.
Amendments 67 to 70
67: Schedule 13, page 123, line 6, leave out sub-paragraph (3) and insert—
“(3) In the heading of section 1A, after “to” insert “certain”.(3A) After section 1A insert— “1B Prisoners serving consecutive sentences including at least one terrorism sentence(1) This section applies where—(a) a prisoner has been sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment which are to be served consecutively on each other,(b) one or more of the sentences (the “terrorism sentence”) was imposed in respect of an offence within section 1AB(2), and(c) the sentences were imposed on the same occasion or, where they were imposed on different occasions, the prisoner has not been released under this Part at any time during the period beginning with the first and ending with the last of those occasions.(2) If the prisoner is serving a terrorism sentence and a sentence imposed in respect of an offence that is not within section 1AB(2) (a “non-terrorism sentence”), the terrorism sentence is to be served (or, where subsection (7) applies, treated as being served) after the non-terrorism sentence irrespective of when the sentences were imposed.(3) Where subsection (2) applies, the prisoner is to be taken to begin serving the custodial part of the terrorism sentence (or first such sentence) as soon as the prisoner has served the custodial part of the non-terrorism sentence.(4) If (but for this section) the prisoner would have been released on licence under this Part in respect of a non-terrorism sentence, the period during which the prisoner would have been on licence under this Part is to be served concurrently with the custodial part of the terrorism sentence.(5) The prisoner may not be released under this Part in respect of the terrorism sentence unless and until the prisoner has served the aggregate of—(a) if the prisoner is serving a non-terrorism sentence, the custodial part of the sentence, and(b) the custodial part of each terrorism sentence that the prisoner is serving.(6) Subsection (7) applies where—(a) a non-terrorism sentence is imposed on the prisoner (the “new sentence”), and(b) the prisoner has already served part of the custodial part of a terrorism sentence (the “served part”).(7) The prisoner is to be treated as having served—(a) where the served part is less than the custodial part of the new sentence, such part of the custodial part of the new sentence as is equal to the served part,(b) where the served part is equal to the custodial part of the new sentence, the custodial part of the new sentence,(c) where the served part exceeds the custodial part of the new sentence—(i) the custodial part of the new sentence, and(ii) so much of the custodial part of the terrorism sentence as is equal to the amount by which the served part exceeds the custodial part of the new sentence.(8) Nothing in this Part requires—(a) the Scottish Ministers to release the prisoner in respect of any of the terms of imprisonment unless and until they are required to release the prisoner in respect of each of the other terms of imprisonment,(b) the Scottish Ministers or the Parole Board to consider the prisoner’s release in respect of any of the terms of imprisonment unless and until the Ministers are or the Board is required to consider the prisoner’s release, or the Ministers are required to release the prisoner, in respect of each of the other terms. (9) If the prisoner is released on licence under this Part the prisoner is to be on licence, on and after the release, until the prisoner would, but for the release, have served a term equal in length to the aggregate length of the term of imprisonment of any non-terrorism sentence and the term or, as the case may be, terms of imprisonment for the terrorism sentence or sentences less the period mentioned in subsection (10).(10) The period is—(a) any period served concurrently in accordance with subsection (4), and(b) if (but for this section) the prisoner would have been released unconditionally under section 1(1) in respect of a non-terrorism sentence, the period equal to one-half of the term of that sentence.(11) Where a prisoner to which this section applies is released on licence under this Part (other than a licence under section 3AA), the release is to be on a single licence which is to be subject to such conditions as may be specified or required by this Part in relation to all the sentences in respect of which the prisoner has been so released.(12) In this section “custodial part”, in relation to a term of imprisonment means a period equal to the part of the term that (but for this section) the prisoner would be required to serve before—(a) the Scottish Ministers are required to release the prisoner under this Part, or(b) the Parole Board is first entitled under this Part to make a recommendation that the prisoner be released on licence under this Part.(13) In this section—(a) references to a non-terrorism sentence include references to two or more such sentences that are treated as a single term by virtue of section 27(5) (whether imposed before, after or both before and after a terrorism sentence), and(b) where subsection (7) applies, the references in that subsection to the “custodial part of the new sentence” include references to the custodial part of the single term.””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment inserts new section 1B of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993. New section 1B makes provision where a prisoner is serving consecutive sentences including at least one terrorism sentence to which section 1AB of the 1993 Act applies, including provision consequential on the amendment of section 27 of the 1993 Act made by the amendment at page 125, line 15.
68: Schedule 13, page 124, line 8, at end insert—
“(5A) In section 3A (re-release of prisoners serving extended sentences)—(a) in the heading, after “serving” insert “certain terrorism sentences and”;(b) in subsection (1), for the words from “an” to “sentences)” substitute “a sentence mentioned in subsection (1ZA)”;(c) after subsection (1) insert—“(1ZA) The sentences are—(a) a sentence imposed under section 205ZA of the 1995 Act (serious terrorism sentence);(b) a sentence imposed under section 205ZC of that Act (terrorism sentence with fixed licence period);(c) an extended sentence under section 210A of that Act.”;(d) in subsection (3), after “term with” insert “the sentence under section 205ZA or, as the case may be, section 205ZC or”;(e) in subsection (4), for the words from “if” to the end substitute— “(a) where—(i) the prisoner is serving a sentence imposed under section 205ZA or 205ZC of the 1995 Act or an extended sentence under section 210A of that Act in respect of a terrorism offence, and(ii) the Board is satisfied that the condition in subsection (4A) is met (but not otherwise),direct that the prisoner should be released;(b) where—(i) the prisoner is serving an extended sentence under section 210A of that Act in respect of a sexual or violent offence, and(ii) the Board is satisfied that the condition in subsection (4B) is met (but not otherwise),direct that the prisoner should be released.”;(f) after subsection (4) insert—“(4A) The condition is that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined.(4B) The condition is that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public from serious harm that the prisoner should be confined.”(5B) In section 3B (review of decisions as to determinate sentences)—(a) in subsection (1)(a), after “from” insert “a sentence imposed under section 205ZC of the 1995 Act or”;(b) in subsection (1)(b)—(i) after “serving” insert “a sentence imposed under section 205ZC of the 1995 Act or”;(ii) after “sentence”, in the second place it occurs, insert “or extended sentence”;(c) in subsection (4)(b), after “relates to” insert “a sentence imposed under section 205ZC of the 1995 Act or”.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment amends sections 3A and 3B of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 in consequence of the new terrorism sentences introduced by Clauses 6 and 23.
69: Schedule 13, page 124, line 35, at end insert—
“(aa) in subsection (5), after paragraph (a) (but before the final “and”) insert—“(aa) sections 3A and 3B of this Act apply to children on whom detention has been imposed under section 205ZC(5) of the 1995 Act as they apply to long- term prisoners;”;”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment amends section 7(5) of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 so as to ensure that sections 3A and 3B of that Act apply in relation to children who are sentenced to detention under the new terrorism sentence introduced by Clause 23.
70: Schedule 13, page 125, line 15, leave out from “in” to end of line 17 and insert “relation to a sentence passed on a person—
(a) in respect of an offence within section 1AB(2), and(b) on or after the coming into force of paragraph 48(3A) of Schedule 13 to the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment makes provision so that terrorism sentences to which section 1AB of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 apply will not be treated as a single term for the purposes of Part 1 of the Act.
Amendments 67 to 70 agreed.
Schedule 13, as amended, agreed.
Clauses 49 to 51 agreed.
Clause 52: Commencement
Amendments 71 to 76