In Depth

Police to get new powers to tackle terrorism

The Home Office is planning a renewed focus on ‘communities where the threat is highest’

Leaked documents show police are to be given tough new powers to tackle terrorism – and there will be a renewed focus on prevention in particular communities – in measures to be announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

What has been leaked?

A 120-page draft of the Government’s new terror strategy has been passed to The Sunday Times. The finished document is due to be published in the next few weeks and will outline a proposed counterterrorism bill.

What are the proposals?

Rudd is proposing “longer prison sentences” for people convicted of terror offences – and more intensive monitoring of their movements and communications after they are released?

What about police?

Police and the security services will be given the power to warn government departments, Scottish and Welsh politicians and local authorities about individuals they consider suspicious. They will be able to do so even before suspects have been placed on the MI5 watch list.

Anything else?

Rudd wants to increase security at sporting events and concerts, focus on detecting British jihadis trying to get work at airports and – in the light of the Salisbury poisoning – improve the detection of “terrorist activity involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives material”.

Will there be more staff?

The document says Rudd wants to “recruit and train over 1,900 additional staff across the security and intelligence agencies”.

What is the controversial aspect?

The Sunday Times says the document calls for more focus on “communities where the threat from terrorism and radicalisation is highest”, and points out that the existing Prevent strategy has been divisive, with Muslims complaining their community is unfairly singled out.

Will the plan be popular?

It is likely to enhance Rudd’s standing with the Tory grassroots, says the newspaper, but “could reinforce the view of some minorities about government hostility towards them”.

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