Govt pushes through emergency terrorism legislation

Emergency legislation introduced in Parliament today will end the automatic early release of terrorist offenders, in a move that sees the government taking decisive action following the recent attack in South London.

The new rules will apply to offenders sentenced for crimes such as training for terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation, and the dissemination of terrorist publications. It will end the current automatic half-way release for offenders who receive standard determinate sentences. Instead, they will be forced to spend a minimum of two-thirds of their term behind bars before being referred to the Parole Board for consideration.

It will also mean around 50 terrorist prisoners already serving affected sentences will see their automatic release halted.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC said the change will ensure terrorist offenders cannot be released before the end of their sentence without a thorough risk assessment by the Parole Board – with those considered still a threat to public safety forced to spend the rest of their time in prison.

"No dangerous terrorist should be released automatically only to go on to kill and maim innocent people on our streets," he said. "Enough is enough. This government will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe, including making sure no terror offender is released early without a thorough risk assessment by the Parole Board.

"And we are not stopping there. We are stepping up deradicalisation measures in our prisons, introducing a 14-year minimum for the worst terrorist offenders, and giving more money to the police to deal with these horrific crimes."

The Bill is expected to be debated in Parliament as a matter of urgency, and subsequntly receiving Royal Assent by the end of February.

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