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Government welcomes suggested hike in prison sentences for terrorist enablers

2 min read

The Government has backed calls to lift prison sentences for those involved in the planning of “less sophisticated" but "equally deadly" terror attacks.

The Sentencing Council suggested people partaking in the set-up but not necessarily the act itself should spend up to six years behind bars - replacing the current guidance of 21 months.  

The move marks a wider acknowledgement of the need to combat modern forms of terror, where knives and vehicles can lead to attacks being planned and carried out quickly.

“Over the last year there have been five significant acts of terrorism in the UK (Westminster, Manchester Arena, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green tube), and similar acts in other countries,” the council said.

“These acts have showed that offenders are taking less time to prepare, and their acts are less sophisticated but are equally as deadly. 

“Offenders are more frequently using knives and vehicles as weapons, which are readily available so involve limited or no preparation to obtain.”

The proposals are set to replace the guidelines set out by the Court of Appeal last year, which focus more on “big plot” cases involving months or years of preparation.

They would include those who disseminate statements encouraging terrorism, such as posts on social media or publications distributed by terror groups.

And the use of encrypted communications to avoid being monitored by the authorities could be seen as an "aggravating" factor when facing prosecution, the proposals add.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “These new guidelines will help ensure we have the most rigorous and robust sentencing in terrorism cases.”

The Crown Prosecution Service said it would respond to the consultation “in due course”.

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