My Annual Report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2017 has been presented to Parliament today. It can be accessed here. This is my final annual report as Independent Reviewer and so I have sought to cover all the statutes I review, namely the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, together with the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) Act 2011 and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act (TAFA) 2010.
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The Government responded (here) to Max Hill QC’s Annual Report on the Operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2016, which was published on 25th January this year.

In a further Response (cm 9705) the Government dealt with Max Hill QC’s Report on the use of terrorism legislation following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, which was published on 28th March.

The Government responded (here) to Max Hill QC’s final Annual Report on the Operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2017, which was published in April 2019.

Max Hill QC responded to the first two responses as follows:

I was pleased to receive the Government responses to my reports today.

I did not have prior sight of either Response, but offer the following first reaction to both:

The Government Response to the Annual Report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts in 2016

I thank the Home Secretary for his kind words in relation to my work as IRTL during ‚Äėwhat can only be described as a particularly difficult and challenging year‚Äô, namely 2017.

Threat picture. Both my predecessor Lord Anderson and I, in reports we produced independently of each other, recommended that JTAC extend its remit to include assessing the threat from domestic extremism. I am pleased that the Government has accepted this recommendation, in particular because the threat we face from extreme right wing terrorism within the UK is considerable, and in my clear view it has grown in reaction to the terrorist atrocities on Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and at Manchester Arena last year. Terrorism takes many forms. Extreme right wing ideology breeds terrorism, and must be dealt with comprehensively. Read more…

My Report into Operation Classific, the police investigation into the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge on 22nd March 2017, has been presented to Parliament by the Home Secretary today, 28 March 2018. It can be accessed here.

As everyone knows, it is my responsibility to monitor the use of the terrorism legislation (the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006, together with the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act 2010 and the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2010) and to report annually to Parliament. I additionally focus on individual major investigations from time to time. My Report on Operation Classific is the first example by me of an investigation report.

It is important to remember that my report is limited to the use of the terrorism legislation by the police in the course of their criminal investigation. Therefore, I have not inquired into the circumstances of the tragic deaths or injuries caused by the terrorist Masood. Indeed, that is the responsibility of the Chief Coroner HHJ Lucraft QC, with whom I have liaised in order to ensure that my report does not trespass into the inquests which are yet to be completed. Finally it has been necessary to redact from my report the identities of the twelve individuals who were arrested by the police, because none of them were charged with any criminal offence.

My overall conclusion (found at page 41) is that there was a reasoned and proportionate use of the relevant terrorism legislation in this case. I have made some practical recommendations, found at page 42; they are that:

  1. Greater thought and clarity be given to the question whether and when it is necessary to transport a detainee sometimes hundreds of miles from their place of arrest.
  2. The introduction of a bail provision for TACT arrests be reconsidered.
  3. Learning outcomes should be identified to ensure that every detainee is given their rights at the earliest moment after arrival at the relevant police custody suite.
  4. Questioning detainees about religion or any other matter occurs with careful thought and planning. Reviewing high-profile investigations can only add to the learning and training for the future. Therefore, in the interest of clarity,  the police should take this opportunity to review training on the circumstances and extent to which detailed questions on religion and other matters will be necessary in future interviews.

 

My first Annual Report on the operation of the Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006 has been presented to Parliament today. It can be accessed here.

This Report deals with the operation of the legislation during the year 2016. It is a feature of the timing of my appointment that my first Report deals with the period before I became Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on 1st March 2017. There was much to consider and review, though I recognise that many readers and commentators will be awaiting my review of the use of our legislation during 2017, in the aftermath of the atrocities commencing with the Westminster Bridge attack on 22nd March last year. With that in mind, I can confirm that I am in the final stages of completing a separate Report into Operation Classific, which was the Police investigation into the Westminster Bridge attack. I hope to present that Report to the Home Office next month.

Meanwhile, the first Annual Report follows a format made familiar by my predecessor, and it addresses the following:
Threat picture
Proscribed organisations and executive orders
Stop and search
Port and border controls
Arrest and detention
Criminal proceedings

As a further echo of my predecessor’s reports, I have asked my Senior Special Advisor, Professor Emeritus Clive Walker QC (Hon) to provide a Guest Chapter, this year entitled:
Executive legal measures and terrorism: proscription and financial sanctions

In this way, I hope that my Report and the Annexes (which include the Guest Chapter) provide useful information on the operation of all four of the statutes which I review, namely the two Terrorism Acts together with the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (which I address in the ‚Äėexecutive orders‚Äô chapter) and the Terrorist Asset Freezing Act 2010 (which is addressed by Professor Walker).

The Annual Report also includes an Executive Summary at the outset and Conclusions and Recommendations at the end.

The report of my Bulk Powers Review, which I delivered to the Prime Minister on 7 August, was published to Parliament (in unaltered form, and without redactions or confidential annex) at 11 am today.

Web and print versions of the report are on the gov.uk website, and a PDF copy of the report is here: Bulk Powers Review Рfinal report.  It begins with a 1-page Executive Summary.   The document speaks for itself, and I will not be doing any media around the launch.

I would emphasise the following points: Read more…

The Immigration Act 2014 revived the Home Secretary’s power to remove citizenship from UK nationals, even when they have no other citizenship.¬† Such a power existed prior to 2003, though it had not been used since 1973.

So controversial was this power (which in its application to single nationals exceeds powers recently introduced or debated in Australia, Canada and France) that Parliament insisted on provision being made for the independent review of its operation.  The Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP, asked me to conduct the first review.

The first report on the new power was laid before Parliament on 21 April.  The power has not so far been used, so strictly speaking there was nothing to report on.  But I took the opportunity in my report to explain the historical and comparative background to the power, and to set out some reasons for scepticism as to its utility in the global fight against terrorism.

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.¬† The Government’s response to the report, published¬†on 8¬†November 2016, is here: I posted on it here. Read more…

Introduction

“A Question of Trust”, the report of my Investigatory Powers Review under DRIPA 2014 s7, was laid before Parliament today.¬† It¬†can be accessed below¬†in print¬†and web accessible versions, together with the accompanying press release and (so far as the authors were willing for it to be published) the evidence submitted to the Review in writing.¬† The Report is also ¬†available¬†free¬†of charge from¬†the following¬†sites: