Policy paper

Written ministerial statement on control orders: 11 March - 10 June 2010

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

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably…

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Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.
The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

The future of the control order regime

The document ‘The Coalition: A Programme for Government’ released on 20 May 2010 sets out the government’s plan for the next five years. In that statement, the government stated that “We will urgently review control orders, as part of a wider review of counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes.” This review is now being taken forward as a priority. We will report the outcome of the review to Parliament in due course.

The exercise of the control order powers in the last quarter

As explained in previous quarterly statements on control orders, control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the terrorism-related risk that individual poses. Each control order is kept under regular review to ensure that the obligations remain necessary and proportionate. The Home Office continues to hold control order review groups (CORGs) every quarter, with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular and formal review and to facilitate a review of options for bringing each control order to an end whilst managing the risk to the public. During this reporting period, two CORGs were held in relation to the orders currently in force. In addition, further meetings were held on an ad-hoc basis as specific issues arose.

During the period 11 March 2010 to 10 June 2010, two non-derogating control orders were made with the permission of the court and served. Three control orders were renewed in accordance with section 2(6) of the 2005 Act in this reporting period. In this reporting period there was one revocation of a control order on the direction of the court on the basis that the court considered that the order was not necessary.

At the end of the reporting period 12 control orders were in force, 10 of which were in respect of British citizens. All of these control orders were non-derogating. Four of the individuals subject to a control order were living in the Metropolitan Police Service area; the remaining individuals were living in other police force areas. During this reporting period, one individual has been charged with breaching his control order obligations; and one set of criminal proceedings for breach of a control order were concluded following a CPS decision that prosecution was no longer in the public interest.

During this reporting period, 43 modifications of control order obligations were made. Ten requests to modify control order obligations were refused.

Section 10(1) of the 2005 Act provides a right of appeal against a decision by the Secretary of State to renew a non-derogating control order or to modify an obligation imposed by a non-derogating control order without consent. Three appeals under section 10(1) of the 2005 Act have been lodged with the High Court during this reporting period. A right of appeal is also provided by section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against decisions by the Secretary of State to refuse a request by a controlled person to revoke their order and/or to modify any obligation under the order. During this reporting period two appeals have been lodged with the High Court under section 10(3) of the 2005 Act.

One judgment has been handed down in relation to substantive judicial review proceedings under section 3(10) of the 2005 Act during this reporting period. In ‘Secretary of State for the Home Department v. AN’, handed down on 12 March 2010, the court directed the Secretary of State to revoke the control order on the basis that the court considered that the order was not necessary. No further detail can be given for legal reasons.

One judgment has been handed down in relation to proceedings under section 10(3) of the 2005 Act during this reporting period.  In ‘Secretary of State for the Home Department v. BX’, handed down on 10 May 2010, the court upheld the decision to relocate BX on the grounds that his removal from his extremist associates was properly regarded as necessary for purposes connected with preventing or restricting BX’s involvement in terrorism-related activity and proportionate. 

Another judgment was handed down in relation to BX by the Court of Appeal, on 4 May 2010. The court dismissed BX’s appeal, holding that the High Court had reached a proper decision in concluding on the material that there were strong grounds for an urgent relocation and in setting early hearings for disclosure and for the appeal.  The court found that (other than in a rare case not so far identified) the proper and appropriate route of challenging a modification decision is by way of a statutory appeal under the 2005 Act and that an interlocutory application for an injunction can be made under s.10 of the act.

One further individual previously subject to a control order has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Most full judgments are available at the British and Irish Legal Information Institute.

21 June 2010