Repeal All UK Terrorism Laws, Says UK Government Adviser On Terrorism Laws

from the outbreak-of-sanity dept

It’s become a depressingly predictable spectacle over the years, as politicians, law enforcement officials and spy chiefs take turns to warn about the threat of “going dark“, and to call for yet more tough new laws, regardless of the fact that they won’t help. So it comes as something of shock to read that the UK government’s own adviser on terrorism laws has just said the following in an interview:

The Government should consider abolishing all anti-terror laws as they are “unnecessary” in the fight against extremists, the barrister tasked with reviewing Britain?s terrorism legislation has said.


the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, argued potential jihadis can be stopped with existing “general” laws that are not always being used effectively to take threats off the streets.

As the Independent reported, the UK government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Max Hill, went on:

“We should not legislate in haste, we should not use the mantra of ‘something has to be done’ as an excuse for creating new laws,” he added. ?We should make use of what we have.”

Aside from the astonishingly sensible nature of Hill’s comments, the interview is also worth reading for the insight it provides into the changing nature of terrorism, at least in Europe:

Mr Hill noted that some of the perpetrators of the four recent terror attacks to hit the UK were previously “operating at a low level of criminality”, adding: “I think that people like that should be stopped wherever possible, indicted using whatever legislation, and brought to court.”

This emerging “crime-terror nexus” is one reason why anti-terrorism laws are unnecessary. Instead, non-terrorism legislation could be used to tackle what Hill termed “precursor criminality” — general criminal activity committed by individuals who could be stopped and prosecuted before they move into terrorism. Similarly, it would be possible to use laws against murder and making explosive devices to hand down sentences for terrorists, made harsher to reflect the seriousness of the crimes.

Even though Hill himself doubts that the UK’s terrorism laws will be repealed any time soon, his views are still important. Taken in conjunction with the former head of GCHQ saying recently that end-to-end encryption shouldn’t be weakened, they form a more rational counterpoint to the ill-informed calls for more laws and less crypto.

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Comments on “Repeal All UK Terrorism Laws, Says UK Government Adviser On Terrorism Laws”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Similar comments have been made here

The use of existing laws here in Australia instead of new terrorism laws would have handled all such cases brought under the new laws.

But as been observed here and in the UK, the politicians are terrified little children. None of them have any courage whatsoever. Their entire actions show that they have submitted totally to the “terrorist” and the “terrorist” has won.

No wonder we now see little tinpot dictators shoving major countries around. They know they can get away with it because the leaders of the major countries are terrified little dears who haven’t a single vertebrae amongst them.

RR says:

Re: Similar comments have been made here

> politicians are terrified little children. None of them
>> have any courage whatsoever.

I suspect this is more about ‘know your audience’. They are experts at creating outrage and fear, and then farming it for votes. Voters are getting exactly what they demand – ACTION!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Similar comments have been made here

Fear and terror sell the news and when you are in bed with the MSM who always come out and complain that the government is soft of crime/terror/immigrants/drugs etc you will always do what you are told. Otherwise you may lose the next election to the opposition who are shouting out that they are the strongmen who will keep the people safe from the latest moral panic or made-up problem/crisis.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Similar comments have been made here

To those who replied, please read the original comment more carefully. I did not they were afraid of terrorism, I said they were terrified little children. They run where none pursue them and in like manner to little children afraid, they make up stories to give life to that fear and spread those stories so that they are not alone in that fear.

So what or who is the “terrorist”? It is that of which they are afraid and run in fear from. I don’t care if it is the citizens who with careful thought would remove them from power, or the foreign governments to which they have given up the national sovereignty or to the corporations both national and foreign that have bought them or the the tin-pot creepy person who threatens disaster for them. They have no backbone, they have no courage.

Their fear is a blight upon the nations and infects those who won’t, will not or cannot think past the bogeyman. They are afraid of the bogeyman and so in turn become the bogeyman themselves.

Everything they do is in fear and so in fire will our nations go. The laughable thing is that it doesn’t matter what political stance they take, they all quake in their jackboots, shoes and high heels.

Vidiot (profile) says:

You’d think that those mainstream critics of “government overreach” in every country would resist the pandering effort to create giant slag heaps of empty, duplicative laws drawn from the topical headlines of the moment… but you’d be wrong. Because writing your own law named for Jennifer, Julie or Jasmine looks good on a campaign flyer.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is PRECISELY why it occurs – they have to be SEEN DOING SOMETHING, which means making a new law, no matter how stupid, rather than using existing laws. And when it occurs again (and it will since people didn’t follow the original law, so what makes you think they’ll obey the SAME law written a different way), they’ll do it again since they still need to be SEEN DOING SOMETHING.

That phrase really sticks in my craw… any politician (or government official in general) to ever utter those words (or any reasonably similar facsimile) should be IMMEDIATELY arrested and every decision they’ve ever made scrutinized under a microscope.

peter says:

Does not matter, they are here to stay.

These anti-terrorism laws are not there because a special law was needed to deal with the special circumstances of terrorism. They are there because there was a failure to use existing laws and politicians needed to divert blame and to be “seen to do something(TM)”.

And they will never get removed no matter how many other laws exist to do the same thing, because no politician will want to be accused of being “the terrorist’s friend (TM)”.

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