03:04, September 03 79 0 theguardian.com

2020-09-03 03:04:04
Independent review finds gaps in supervision of released terrorists

Authorities have been criticised after an independent review of terrorism legislation found gaps in the monitoring of people convicted of terrorism-related offences in England and Wales.

The report, by Jonathan Hall QC, was commissioned after the convicted terrorist Usman Khan, who was released on licence from prison, killed two people near London Bridge on 29 November.

The report, which examined the multi-agency public protection arrangements (Mappa), was completed in May and published on Wednesday.

Hall said meetings of different agencies including the police, the prison service and probation officers were “dominated by information exchange rather than active management” of cases.

He was also critical of HM Prison and Probation Service of England and Wales for using a risk-assessment tool he said “seriously minimised” the severity of terrorism offences.

Hall called for a cultural shift in how authorities share information over those convicted of terrorism, noting there was a “surprisingly limited” local knowledge about such offenders from police.

The report made 45 recommendations, with the Home Office minister, Chris Philp, saying in a written ministerial statement: “Jonathan Hall found that Mappa is a well-established process and did not conclude that wholesale change is necessary.

“He has made a number of recommendations on how the management of terrorists can be improved and the government, police and Prison and Probation Service have been working on changes in line with many of them.”

Among the recommendations was a requirement for terrorists to undergo polygraph testing, with Philp saying the government was “already legislating” the measure.

The counter-terrorism and sentencing bill is viewed by the government as the largest overhaul of sentencing and monitoring in decades. It includes a minimum 14-year jail term for the most dangerous terrorists, who will also have to spend up to 25 years on licence after their release.

But Scotland is reportedly blocking the introduction of the polygraph measure.

UK ministers have to seek a legislative consent motion giving permission from Scottish ministers to amend Scottish law, because terrorism falls under the devolved issue of justice.

The Scottish justice secretary, Humza Yousaf, rejected a request from the UK government to implement polygraph tests for terrorists because he was “unconvinced by the policy merits” of its use in Scotland, according to the Sun.

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