Control Orders

Home Department written statement – made on 17th September 2007.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

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.

Control orders continue to be an essential tool to protect the public from terrorism, particularly where it is not possible to prosecute individuals for terrorist-related activity and, in the case of foreign nationals, where they cannot be removed from the UK.

During the period 11 June 2007 to 10 September 2007, two new control orders were made with the permission of the court under section 3(l) (a) of the 2005 Act and, on 25 June and 4 July 2007, served on two British citizens.

Control orders can only be made and renewed if they meet the test set out in the Prevention of Terrorism Act in that:

(a) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting the individual is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity; and

(b) it is necessary, for purposes connected with protecting members of the public from a risk of terrorism, to make / renew a control order imposing obligations on him.

Obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and are based on the risk that individual poses. Each control order is kept under review to ensure that the obligations remain necessary and proportionate. Specifically, as Lord Carlile recommended in his February 2006 report on the operation of the control order system, the Home Office has established a Control Order Review Group (CORG), with representation from law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to keep the obligations in every control order under regular (quarterly) formal and audited review and to facilitate a review of appropriate exit strategies. During this reporting period, four review groups 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.

As a result, during this reporting period, five control orders were renewed in accordance with Section 2(6) of the 2005 Act. Four control orders have expired and one has been revoked since the last report.

In total, therefore, there are 14 control orders currently in force, eight of which are in respect of British citizens. Four of the individuals live in the Metropolitan Police Service area; the rest fall within other police force areas.

Three of the 14 individuals currently subject to a control order have absconded—one in January 2007 and two in May 2007. One further individual absconded during this reporting period—in June 2007. His control order expired on 31 July 2007. Details in relation to this abscond were given in a written statement on 21 June 2007. Parliament has also previously been informed of a further individual who absconded in May 2007. This individual is currently on remand and therefore when his control order expired during this reporting period no further control order was made against him.

The anonymity order for the individual who absconded in September 2006 was lifted by the High Court on 25 May 2007. The anonymity orders for the two individuals who absconded in May 2007 were lifted by the High Court on 23 May 2007. For police operational and legal reasons, the Government are not currently seeking to lift the anonymity orders of the other two individuals who absconded (one in January 2007 and the other in June 2007). Finding individuals who have absconded is an operational matter for the police and investigations are ongoing.

During this reporting period, 25 modifications of control order obligations were made and 23 requests to modify a control order obligation were refused. A right of appeal exists in Sections 10(1) and (3) of the 2005 Act against decisions by the Secretary of State relating to the modification of obligations imposed by non-derogating control orders. Appeals have been made in respect of 10 modification requests that were refused and one modification which was made by the Secretary of State.

There have been no prosecutions for breaches completed during this reporting period.

EWHC 1970 (Admin) the High Court accepted that the Secretary of State had reasonable grounds for suspecting that the individual was involved in terrorism-related activity and that the control order and obligations were necessary to protect the public. The control order modification hearing in Secretary of State for the Home Department v AF [2007] EWHC 2001 (Admin) was heard between 23 and 25 July 2007. AF had appealed the Secretary of State's decision to refuse 10 modification requests. The High Court upheld the Secretary of State's refusal to make eight of the requested modifications, but directed that the Secretary of State slightly modify two of AF's obligations. was heard on 29 August 2007. On 7 September, the High Court dismissed Mr Abu Rideh's appeal.

The House of Lords heard the cases of JJ and others, MB, AF and E in July and considered issues relating to Articles 5 (Right to Liberty) and 6 (Right to a Fair Trial)of the European Convention on Human Rights. In relation to E, the Lords also considered the extent, if any, of duties on the Secretary of State under section 8 of the 2005 Act and the duty to consult the family about the impact on them of the control order. We await the outcome.

Annotations

Tone Franklin
Posted on 24 Sep 2007 12:29 am (Report this annotation)

Let me get this straight: After several false flag terrorist operations, two illegal wars, increasing surveillance on innocent citizenry, potential Martial Law in operation and the possibility of every individual on the planet being biometrically tagged as a result, the UK has 14 terror suspects, three of whom have absconded? I think your hidden masters have you dancing backwards to music that has no tune.