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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

July 25, 2007: New Counter-Terrrorism Strategy

In a parliamentary statement today, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain is to have a unified border force to 'strengthen the powers and surveillance capability' of those working to stop terrorists from entering the country.

The force will integrate the work of the Border and Immigration Agency, Customs and UK Visas, and would operate both overseas and at the main points of entry to the UK.

The Prime Minister also announced a review of allowing intercept evidence to be used in court, and increasing the 28 days suspects can be held for questioning before being charged. The announcement came as part of a wide-ranging assessment to parliament of the UK's anti-terrorism efforts.

The Prime Minister credited the calmness and steadfastness of the nation during the recent failed terrorism attacks in London and Glasgow, which he said were the 15th attempted terrorism attack on British soil since 2001:

'Britain, led by London and Glasgow, stood firm in the face of threats, and our calmness and steadfastness sent a powerful message across the world that we will not yield to terrorism, nor ever be intimidated by it.'

At the moment, police and security services currently were dealing with 30 known plots, while monitoring more than 200 groups and in excess of 2,000 suspected terrorists. He said the country - and all countries - faced a 'generation-long challenge to defeat al-Qaeda-inspired violence.' Because of that, he said, the government created the new National Security Committee (NSC) to oversee the new Office for Security and counter-terrorism. The announcements he made today, he said, came out of the NSC's first two meetings.
Among those announcements were:

  • a national security strategy will be published in the autumn
  • there will be a single security budget starting at the next spending review
  • the chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee will be independent
  • the government will consult on how the members of the Intelligence and Security Committee should be appointed, and how it should report to Parliament

The first line of defence against terrorism is overseas, the Prime Minister said, where people first embark on journeys to the UK. He called for accelerating plans to remove old and ineffective paper-based systems and replacing them with 'real-time monitoring', which would allow for immediate action and full coordination across immigration, police and intelligence:

'The way forward is electronic screening of all passengers as they check in and out of our country at ports and airports - so that terrorist suspects can be identified and stopped before they board planes, trains and boats to the United Kingdom.'

For that purpose, the Home Office will enhance the existing E-Borders programme to incorporate all passenger information to help track and intercept terrorists and criminals.

While new biometric visas are already in place for immigrants from high-risk countries, within nine months biometric visas will be extended to all applicants. And from 2009, the government will introduce a new, enhanced system of electronic exit control, checking passports against lists of known or suspected terrorists.

At the same time, the government will work to enhance existing cooperation agreements with other countries, to smooth the process of exchanging information about terrorists and criminals, and to join up criminal records databases with other countries in the EU.

As part of that process, the UK 'watch list' will be linked up with the Interpol database of lost and stolen documents.

The Prime Minister said the government wanted to consult widely on the sensitive issues of using intercept evidence in court, and on pre-charge detention and post-charge questioning.

In terrorism court cases in recent years, police and investigators have had to wade through masses of information in relatively limited amounts of time. In one case police had hundreds of mobile phones and computers to investigate, as well as thousands of gigabytes of data, more than 70 locations to search and thousands of documents on multiple continents.

In recent years, he said, six people had to be held for 27 - 28 days while the investigation was underway. Because of that:

'It is right to explore whether a consensus can be built on the most measured way to deal with this remaining risk.'