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New Home Office legislation features in Queen’s Speech

Legislation to provide stronger powers to disrupt extremists and tackle corruption, money laundering and tax evasion was announced in the Queen’s Speech.

The Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill will be introduced to ‘prevent radicalisation, tackle extremism in all its forms, and promote community integration’.

It is aimed at protecting the public against the most dangerous extremists and ensuring the government and law enforcement have a full range of powers to deal with extremism.

The bill will:

  • introduce a new civil order regime to restrict extremist activity, following consultation
  • safeguard children from extremist adults by taking powers to intervene in intensive, unregulated education settings that teach hate and drive communities apart and through stronger powers for the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • close loopholes so that Ofcom can continue to protect consumers who watch internet-streamed television content from outside the EU on Freeview
  • consult on powers to enable government to intervene where councils fail to tackle extremism

The Criminal Finances Bill will introduce legislation to tackle corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion.

It will allow the government to recoup more criminal assets by reforming the law on proceeds of crime, including provisions to strengthen enforcement powers and protect the public. It will also implement a more effective regime to support reporting of suspicious financial activity, make it easier to seize illicit funds and improve coordination between the public and private sectors to tackle criminal financial behaviour.

The bill will:

  • introduce a criminal offence for corporations who fail to stop their staff facilitating tax evasion
  • improve the operation of the suspicious activity reports regime to encourage better use of public and private sector resources against the highest threats, to target entities that carry out money laundering instead of individual transactions, and to provide the National Crime Agency with new powers
  • improve the ability of law enforcement agencies and courts to recover criminal assets more effectively, particularly in cases such as those linked to grand corruption

Two further Home Office bills will continue from the 2015 to 2016 session: the Investigatory Powers Bill and the Policing and Crime Bill.