Report on the Draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill

27 November 2012

The Joint Committee on the Draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill today publishes its report

"Lack of clarity about purpose of draft legislation” says Committee

The draft Enhanced Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill is intended to be introduced by the Government in response to "exceptional circumstances" which "cannot be managed by any other means". It is complementary to, and if introduced will operate alongside, the existing TPIMs legislation (as set out in the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011). If approved by Parliament, this Bill will allow the Government to impose a series of restrictive measures, broadly similar to those available under the control order regime, on certain targeted individuals.

The Committee accepted the need for such measures as a preventative tool against suspected terrorists but raised concerns about the role of Parliament in approving their introduction and the threat to security created by "time-limiting" the legislation. To safeguard and better monitor their use, the Committee further called on the Government to institute higher standards of legal review of any use of this legislation. The Chair of the Committee, Mr Bob Ainsworth MP said:

"The draft ETPIMs Bill, if introduced by the Government and approved by Parliament, would bring in very stringent measures against suspected terrorists. The granting of these powers to the Government can only be justified in the most extreme circumstances.

However, my Committee accepted that there may be circumstances in which such stringent measures are necessary and justifiable; it is therefore disappointing that the Government is vague about the types of circumstances that would lead to the introduction of this Bill. “Emergency legislation” like this Bill is difficult for Parliament to scrutinise properly and this Bill in particular does not lend itself to close questioning of the Government’s decisions. I therefore call on the Government to be more open about the situations in which it would introduce this Bill."

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