Control orders ‘may be inappropriate’

Control orders may be an “inappropriate” tool against terrorism, a Home Office minister has conceded.

Addressing a security conference, police minister Tony McNulty said the government may need to review its use of control orders, which place restrictions on people who cannot be prosecuted through the courts.

He told the Homeland and Border Security Conference that there may be ways to pursue terror suspects “with a degree more rigour within the law and control orders are inappropriate”.

But Mr McNulty said: “Until someone comes up with something more appropriate we are always going to have this twilight zone.”

Control orders currently face a legal challenge in the House of Lords and have long been criticised for creating a legal limbo.

After several doctors were arrested in connection with the latest failed terror attack, Mr McNulty said the terror threat comes from educated and innovative terrorists.

He told the conference: “We are dealing with an educated and informed enemy who work as we have seen around the world in a very, very innovative way and we need, as a government and collectively as a society, to match that.”

Mr McNulty said the private sector and public could play a larger role in detecting terrorism and thanked the British public for their stoicism and good humour in light of the latest incidents.

Going into the conference, the police minister said the government’s restructuring of the Home Office would allow it to refocus on terrorism.

Similarly the creation of the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism increases its strategic capacity and provides support across a number of government departments.

He confirmed the Home Office has completed a comprehensive review of terror legislation. Counter-terror laws are a small but vital part of the terror response, Mr McNulty said, and sends the clear message terrorism is not tolerated.

The Home Office also confirmed this morning that two terrorist organisations are to be banned.

It has published a draft order calling for Tehrik Nefaz-e Shari’at Mohammadi and Jammat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh to be banned, stating both are involved in terrorism overseas.

The draft proscription order will now be debated by both the Commons and the Lords. Mr McNulty said it had been planned for some time and was not a response to the failed attacks in London and Glasgow.

Mr McNulty said the Home Office was working to create a hostile environment where terrorists find it increasingly difficult to operate.

He said: “Security is one of the government’s top priorities and we will do everything within our power to disrupt terrorist activity, including action to support our international partners.

“The proscription of these two groups will send a strong message to terrorists that the UK is not prepared to tolerate terrorism here or anywhere else in the world.”