Priti Patel – 2020 Statement on Countering Terrorism

Below is the text of the statement made by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, in the House of Commons on 21 January 2020.

The Government’s first priority is to keep families, communities and our country safe. Following the terrorist attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in November 2019 we have reviewed our overall approach to counter-terrorism and the package of measures we have announced today represents a major shift in the UK’s approach to the sentencing and management of terrorist offenders.

The counter-terrorism strategy—CONTEST—was strengthened in 2018 and remains one of the most comprehensive approaches to countering terrorism in the world. But we know the threat we face will to continue to diversify and evolve as it has done in recent years and we must continually assess the effectiveness of our action and remain flexible in adapting our approach.

The package announced today includes a major overhaul of prisons and probation, including tougher monitoring conditions for terrorist offenders and doubling the number of counter-terrorism probation officers. This will also include a full independent review of the multi-agency public protection arrangements. Jonathan Hall QC will lead this review.

A new Counter-Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill, will be introduced in the first 100 days of this Government. The Bill will include measures that will force dangerous terrorist offenders who receive extended determinate sentences to serve the whole time behind bars and will introduce a new statutory minimum sentence of 14 years in prison, which can be applied to those convicted of the most serious terrorist offences.

Funding for CT policing will also grow to £906 million in 2020-21, a £90 million year-on-year increase. The money will support and maintain the record high numbers of ongoing counter-terrorism policing investigations and ensure a swift and effective response to the threat.

The Government will also review the support available to victims of terrorism, including families and loved ones, and immediately invest £500,000 to increase the support provided by the victims of terrorism unit, to ensure more victims get the support and advice they need, faster.

This package of measures sets out how we will continue to build on the UK’s formidable capabilities, experience and expertise to tackle the growing and changing threat from terrorism in all its forms.