Examination of Witness

Part of Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:34 am on 25th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Tim Jacques:

First—Jonathan touched on this—there have not been occasions thus far when the current burden of proof has prevented the application of a TPIM. In terms of the numbers, there are six now in place in the UK. Neither we nor the Security Service envisage a large increase in those numbers as a result of the provisions in the Bill. The Security Service points to three instances where it thinks this would have utility from an operational perspective. The first is where an individual’s risk profile is rapidly increasing—hypothetically, somebody who we know might be operating online, but our belief is that they are moving towards posing an actual threat on the street with an attack plan in place. If that is very rapid, which it can now be—we have seen instances of that—then being able to use a lower standard of proof is something that MI5 thinks would be of use.

Secondly—Jonathan touched on this too—there is the issue of somebody returning from abroad, who we believe has been involved in terrorist-related activity overseas, and the issues of evidence in that. The Home Secretary can currently impose temporary exclusion orders at the lower standard of proof. If somebody wants to come back and has a right to come back to the UK, they can be imposed on the lower standard of proof. If someone somehow makes it to the UK under the radar or without our knowledge, the higher burden of proof would have to be applied to impose a TPIM. That is the second case that MI5 would point to.

The third issue, which Jonathan also touched on, relates to sensitive material. TPIMs are challengeable and there is an automatic review and so on. The disclosure of sensitive material would potentially compromise sensitive techniques and therefore make our job and that of the Security Service harder, but the lower standard would assist them in their national security role.