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Baroness Neville-Jones signals radical shake up of Anti-terror Laws

Baroness Neville-Jones signals radical shake up of Anti-terror Laws

Categories: Latest News

Friday May 21 2010

    In an exclusive interview with Islam Channel on Friday 21 May 2010, Secretary of State for Security Baroness Neville-Jones signaled radical proposals for a shake up of Anti-terror laws and a complete review of the controversial Prevent programme.

Baroness Neville-Jones said the government will champion the core values of equality and fairness. The Minister said she recognises the importance of rebuilding bridges with the Muslim community.

When asked about her opinion on this weeks Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s judgment relating to two Pakistani students and whether she thought it was a fair one, Baroness Neville-Jones stated:

‘I think the SIAC judgment was a fairly balanced one, I must say. What they [SIAC] said was of course that they were perfectly satisfied on the basis of the information presented to them that the men were engaged in serious terrorist activity.’

She went on to add that the ruling demonstrated:

‘…the government had good grounds for having real concern about the threat these two individuals posed.’

She stated that the government is ‘disappointed‘ in not being able to deport the two individuals:

‘They came to study in this country and I think its an abuse of the hospitality of this country that they should have engaged in such activities so I am concerned about that, and, I am sure that many Pakistanis and indeed many Muslims will be concerned about the reputation involved in this kind of thing happening.’

When probed further on the matter and presented with the argument that the defendants were not subject to the full rigours of a normal judicial process, Baroness Neville-Jones expressed the following:

‘We have said that we are going to review the operation of counter-terrorist legislation and we are going to put some safeguards in place against their abuse. In plain language, what this means is, we will look at the operation of stop and search. We don’t think necessarily that it’s operating in the way it should, or for the purposes for which it was originally intended. And we want to try and ensure, consistent with security obviously, that we can narrow it’s scope and that we can assure that it is fairly applied, and people do not feel that they are somehow being picked on.’

She said the government will look at ‘the whole question of pre-charge detention and whether it’s justified.’

Baroness Neville-Jones also stated that the government will look at control orders too and

‘…will go into it in really serious detail to see if we can reduce, and if we can consistent with security, actually abolish the operation and use of control orders. We don’t regard them as being something which we want to try and uphold in a liberal society. We do stand for decent standards and we want to be able actually to get the courts of this country operating in a fair way right across the board with all citizens.’

Baroness Neville-Jones said that there will be a review of the controversial Prevent programme and that she recognised perceptions in the British Muslim community are that the programme is ‘stigmatising‘ and directed at them, adding:

‘We will bear down on extremism but we are going to do it across the board. Right-wing extremists are no more going to be allowed to behave in society in ways which undermine the values that we all stand for, than anyone else. And so what we want to try and do is to get a sense of equality and fairness in society and in return, we will ask the Muslims for responsibility on the part of citizens.’

She stated the need for a ‘national integration strategy’ that brings people together as ‘Brits’ to create ‘one society.’

Readers can view the full interview here.


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