The Independent Reviewer writes …

David Anderson Q.C.

Welcome! I am an independent Q.C. and not part of the government machine. I am tasked with reviewing the operation of the United Kingdom’s anti-terrorism laws. Where I am critical, I recommend change. My reports and recommendations are submitted to ministers and laid before Parliament.

As reviewer I have a very high degree of access both to classified documents and to those most closely involved with defence against terrorism: Read more…

Features

I have submitted evidence three times to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into countering extremism.

My written evidence of 13 October 2015 did little more than refer the Committee to chapter 9 of my September 2015 report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts.¬† That chapter considered, among other things, the relationship between terrorism and extremism (9.2-9.6) and the¬†extent of¬†the “extremism” problem (9.15-9.23), before recording some¬†potential difficulties and concerns (9.24-9.31)¬†with the proposed Extremism Bill¬†whose outlines were announced with the Queen’s Speech¬†on 27¬†May 2015 but which has still not seen the light of day.

My oral evidence of 19 January 2016 was transcribed (from Q926) and is available also on video (from 15:16).  The questioning extended to radicalisation, language teaching, police bail and the wearing of the full-face veil as well as to the responsibilities of universities and social media companies, the need for all-inclusive dialogue and the limitations of the law.

My supplementary written evidence was published on 2 February 2016.  It makes the case for independent review of the Prevent strategy, and in particular of the operation of the Prevent duty in schools.  But it does not (as some media reports have suggested) endorse a narrative of state-sponsored islamophobia.

Letter to Home Secretary

I sent this letter to the Home Secretary last week, in fulfilment of my obligation under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to notify her of the statutory reports I aim to produce during the calendar year.  Her agreement to the plan is not required.

The letter gives an outline of the four reports I expect to produce during the year, while reserving the right to adapt the plan as circumstances may require.

With a bit of luck, I should soon have more news about the assistance that it has been decided, in principle, that the Independent Reviewer should receive.

The background to this saga is in my September 2015 Terrorism Acts report at 10.6-10.11 (scope of Independent Reviewer’s responsibilities) and 10.12-10.17 (assistance).

Further information about the role of the Independent Reviewer is here.

Reports

My annual report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006 was laid before Parliament by the Home Secretary on the morning of Thursday 17 September.  You can download it here:

Terrorism Acts Report 2015 Print version

Terrorism Acts Report 2015_web version

The report is also available on the gov.uk site.

I was interviewed about countering extremism (together with surveillance and the Northern Ireland related terrorism) on World at One (BBC Radio 4) on publication day.

Press coverage included these articles in The Guardian and HuffPost. Read more…

Evidence

I have submitted evidence three times to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into countering extremism.

My written evidence of 13 October 2015 did little more than refer the Committee to chapter 9 of my September 2015 report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts.¬† That chapter considered, among other things, the relationship between terrorism and extremism (9.2-9.6) and the¬†extent of¬†the “extremism” problem (9.15-9.23), before recording some¬†potential difficulties and concerns (9.24-9.31)¬†with the proposed Extremism Bill¬†whose outlines were announced with the Queen’s Speech¬†on 27¬†May 2015 but which has still not seen the light of day.

My oral evidence of 19 January 2016 was transcribed (from Q926) and is available also on video (from 15:16).  The questioning extended to radicalisation, language teaching, police bail and the wearing of the full-face veil as well as to the responsibilities of universities and social media companies, the need for all-inclusive dialogue and the limitations of the law.

My supplementary written evidence was published on 2 February 2016.  It makes the case for independent review of the Prevent strategy, and in particular of the operation of the Prevent duty in schools.  But it does not (as some media reports have suggested) endorse a narrative of state-sponsored islamophobia.

Speeches

I was the guest of the Muslim Council of Britain today at its ground-breaking conference in London on “Terrorism and Extremism: how should British Muslims respond?”

Some of the many interesting people I met there asked me for a copy of my short address.  Here it is, as well as I could remember it.

TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM – MCB keynote