Extremists who prepare and train for terrorism overseas will face prosecution in the UK from today, as the Serious Crime Bill received Royal Assent.
The Act extends the reach of the UK courts so that those who travel overseas to prepare and train for terrorism can be prosecuted on their return to this country. The new powers come into effect immediately.
It is part of wide-ranging action to update the Government’s strategy to tackle serious and organised crime, which costs the UK at least £24 billion each year.
Other provisions include closing loopholes in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to improve the asset recovery process; introducing a new offence of sexual communication with a child; placing a duty on healthcare professionals, teachers and social workers to report known cases of FGM to police; and criminalising patterns of coercive or controlling behaviour against an intimate partner or family member.
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime Karen Bradley said:
Serious and organised criminals are constantly searching for new ways to exploit victims and evade justice, and it is vital the Government, law enforcement agencies and the private sector remain a step ahead.
This legislation strengthens powers to combat terrorists and paedophiles, and introduces new measures to tackle female genital mutilation and domestic abuse. These crimes inflict terrible suffering on victims and survivors.
The Act responds to the threats we are facing today and in the future, ensuring we can continue effectively and relentlessly to pursue, disrupt and bring to justice serious and organised criminals.
The Act also:
- creates a new offence targeting people who knowingly participate in an organised crime group;
- extends the scope of Serious Crime Prevention Orders and gang injunctions;
- establishes new powers to seize, detain and destroy chemical substances suspected of being used as cutting agents for illegal drugs;
- criminalises the possession of ‘paedophile manuals’; and
- strengthens prison security by creating a new offence of throwing articles into prison; and giving courts the power to compel operators to disconnect mobile communication devices found to be operating in prison without authorisation.
And the Act amends the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) in relation to the confidentiality of journalistic sources. The revised Code of Practice – to take effect before the election - will introduce judicial oversight for the acquisition of communications data by law enforcement agencies in order to identify such sources.