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Government plan to stop extremist threats unveiled

A sweeping package of draconian powers has been unveiled by the Government as it moves to bolster the UK's defences amid warnings of a growing extremist threat that is set to last for years.

Addressing the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) military think tank, Home Secretary Theresa May said the threat from jihadists and other fanatics is "greater than it has ever been" as she revealed details of a new Counter-terrorism and Security Bill.

Within the new bill, which should pass into law before the general election, is a legal requirement by schools, prisons and councils to put in place policies or programmes to stop would-be extremists from being drawn into terrorism. Legislation will be clarified to make sure insurance companies can no longer foot the bill for terrorist ransoms, suspected foreign fighters will be blocked from returning to the UK and powers will be re-introduced to relocate terror suspects across the country.

Human rights campaigners lashed out at the tough measures, labelling the plans "another chilling recipe for injustice". But in her speech, Mrs May was adamant the legislation was vital.

"This legislation is important, the substance is right, the time is right and the way in which it has been developed is right," she said. "It is not a knee-jerk response to a sudden perceived threat. It is a properly-considered, thought-through set of proposals that will help to keep us safe at a time of very significant danger.

"We are engaged in a struggle that is fought on many fronts and in many forms. It is a struggle that will go on for many years. And the threat we face right now is perhaps greater than it ever has been - we must have the powers we need to defend ourselves."

Elsewhere, terrorism prevention and investigations measures (TPims) will be strengthened to re-introduce powers in Labour's control orders to relocate terror suspects around the country.

Police are to be handed powers in the new bill to force internet firms to hand over details that could help identify suspected terrorists and paedophiles, while police and border staff will be given the power to seize the passports of terror suspects.

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