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Counter-terrorism law review urged

Control orders should be scrapped, the use of intrusive surveillance curtailed and stop-and-search powers urgently amended in a complete overhaul of counter-terrorism legislation, campaigners have said.

Liberty will recommend that the "unsafe and unfair" control order regime, used to place terror suspects under close supervision, should be "scrapped entirely".

The civil liberties group said the Government's review of counter-terrorism legislation was a "once in a generation opportunity for reform" and will unveil its full response to the consultation later on Wednesday.

Control orders abrogate the right to a fair trial, "enabling unending restrictions on liberty on the basis of secret intelligence and suspicion rather than charges, evidence and proof", the group said.

Millions of pounds have also been spent on administering them and defending subsequent litigation, it added.

There should be greater focus on the use of surveillance powers instead, but this should be carried out by law enforcement authorities and not councils.

Liberty said there was "widespread misunderstanding" of the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) and it was "inappropriate and confusing that powers to access communications data are spread across the statute book".

"Ripa alone should strictly govern access to communications data," it said.

"We question whether local authorities should have access to any Ripa powers at all - with such highly intrusive surveillance powers better suited to law enforcement agencies than local councils."

The campaign group said the current stop-and-search powers were also "too broad" and were being used disproportionately against photographers.


From Belfast Telegraph