Documents to download

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill is a government bill which, having completed its legislative stages in the House of Commons, was introduced in the House of Lords on 12 September 2018. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 9 October 2018. The Bill contains a range of counter-terrorism measures, many of which update, amend and add to those already set out in existing legislation. For example, the Bill would:

  • make it an offence to express support for a proscribed terrorist organisation when the individual is “reckless” as to whether it would encourage parties to the expression to support such an organisation;
  • create an offence of streaming certain terrorism-related material over the internet;
  • make it an offence to enter or remain in certain areas as designated by the Secretary of State (eg areas controlled by certain terrorist groups);
  • extend extra-territorial jurisdiction and the maximum sentences applicable to certain offences;
  • extend the powers of local authorities in connection to the Prevent strategy; and
  • amend provisions in relation to retention of biometric data.

The provisions follow the Government’s commitment to review and update its counter-terrorism strategy, and are also a reaction to terrorist attacks in the UK over the last few years. In addition, the Bill would provide officials powers to stop, search and detain individuals at ports and borders to determine whether individuals are involved with, or have been involved with, “hostile state activity”. The Government has confirmed this is in response to the suspected involvement of Russia in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018. Although the purpose of the Bill was largely supported by opposition parties in the House of Commons, concerns were raised over the operation and wording of several clauses, for example over the application of the port and border powers and over how some of the new or revised offences may effect innocent people.

This Briefing provides details on each of the Bill’s clauses (including consideration by the Joint Committee on Human Rights where applicable) and highlights some of the issues and amendments covered during the Bill’s House of Commons stages.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Forensic science and the criminal justice system

    In May 2019, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report warning the quality and delivery of forensic science services in England and Wales was inadequate. It recommended several reforms intended to halt the damage this was causing to public trust in the criminal justice system. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate this report on 26 April 2021. This article summarises the committee’s recommendation, the Government’s response and subsequent developments.

    Forensic science and the criminal justice system
  • Facial recognition technology: police powers and the protection of privacy

    Facial recognition technology is used to identify individuals or to verify someone’s identity. Live facial recognition has been used by several police forces in England and Wales in collaboration with the private sector. There have been calls for increased scrutiny and oversight of the powers of the police to use the technology, including in the House of Lords. This article summarises the debates about the use of this technology.

    Facial recognition technology: police powers and the protection of privacy