News story

Rapid review of counter-terrorism powers announced

A review of which security powers could be scaled back in order to restore the balance of civil liberties has been announced by Theresa May.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography, detention of terrorist suspects before charge and the use of control orders are among the areas to be reviewed as a priority.

Read the full press release.

The Home Secretary said: ‘National security is the first duty of government but we are also committed to reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties.

‘I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent. We must ensure that in protecting public safety, the powers we need to deal with terrorism are in keeping with Britain’s traditions of freedom and fairness.

‘We will look at the evidence presented to us and where it is clear that legislation needs to be amended or powers need to be rolled back, we will do so.’

Six priority areas

The review will look at:

  • use of control orders
  • stop and search powers in section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography
  • detention of terrorist suspects before charge
  • extending the use of deportations with assurances to remove foreign nationals from the UK who pose a threat to national security
  • measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred or violence
  • use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by local authorities, and access to communications data in general

Balanced recommendations

Liberal peer, Lord Ken Macdonald QC, will ensure the review is properly conducted with all options considered and balanced recommendations made. ‘I am delighted that Lord Ken Macdonald QC will provide expert independent oversight of the review,’ Theresa May said.

‘This role is distinct from the excellent work that is already being undertaken by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC in his statutory role as independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.’

The Home Secretary will report back on the findings of the review in the autumn.


Published 13 July 2010