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Terrorists released from jail will face lie detector tests to prove they have been de-radicalised

Terrorists released from jail will face lie detector tests to prove they have been de-radicalised
4 min read

Convicted terrorists out of prison on license will now face lie detector tests to prove they have been de-radicalised.

It is one of a raft of measures being unveiled by the Government in response to the London Bridge attack last year.

They include an end to early release for those convicted of serious offences such as “preparing acts of terrorism or directing a terrorist organisation”, who will now have to spend a mandatory minimum of 14 years in jail.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the increased powers are the result of a review “to do whatever is necessary to stop these sickening attacks from taking place”.

She and the Justice Secretary Robert Buckland confirmed a new Counter-Terrorism Bill will be introduced in the first 100 days of the Government.

They said it will force “dangerous terrorist offenders who receive extended determinate sentences to serve the whole time behind bars”.

There are also plans to also overhaul the terrorist licensing regime, doubling specialist counter-terror probation officers and increasing the number of places available in probation hostels.

They will increase the number of specialist psychologists and specially-trained imams, who help challenge the beliefs of radicalised offenders, and increase resources for training front-line prison and probation staff.

And new measures such as “polygraph testing” will be brought in by the Home Office to make sure offenders are sticking to their license conditions.

It comes after Usman Khan killed two people and injured three more at an offender rehabilitation conference in Fishmongers' Hall back in November.

The 28-year-old had been released on licence in 2018 after completing a de-radicalisation programme while serving a sentence for a conviction related to a terror plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Lie detector tests have been used by the probation service to monitor some serious sex offenders on parole since 2007, and are being considered as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The Ministry of Justice said their used had increased the chances that a sexual offender under supervision in the community will reveal whether they had broken the rules of their management or treatment.

But the results of a polygraph cannot be used as evidence in a UK court, as experts say they are not 100% reliable - and they are not used by police or probation services in in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

They hit the headlines last year after Steve Dymond, a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show, was found dead a week after taking a test on TV.

It saw the producers of the ITV programme labelled “irresponsible" by MPs for putting their subjects through polygraphs without knowing how accurate they were.


Other aspects of the Government overhaul of terrorist responses includes an extra £500,000 handed to the Victims of Terrorism Unit, and a review of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements for offenders, led by Jonathan Hall, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation

Ms Patel said: “The senseless terror attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in November confronted us with some hard truths about how we deal with terrorist offenders, which is why we immediately announced a review into sentencing and licence conditions, to do whatever is necessary to stop these sickening attacks from taking place.

 “Today we are delivering on those promises, giving police and probation officers the resources they need to investigate and track offenders, introducing tougher sentences, and launching major reviews into how offenders are managed after they are released.”

And Mr Buckland said: “Terrorists pose a great risk to our society and our way of life, which is why we must bring them to justice and keep the public safe.

“Coupled with our strong measures to manage terrorists behind bars, this Counter-Terrorism Bill toughens restrictions on offenders’ communications, increases the number of specialist staff managing them and will ensure they are monitored effectively.”


But Labour dismissed the moves as an "admission of failure".

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: "Major terrorist outrages have occurred all too frequently, including attacks by perpetrators who were known to the security services.

"The fight against terrorism has been undermined by cuts to policing, including community policing, a lack of effective coordination between police and security services as well as the flawed Prevent programme.  All of these need to change if we are going to improve the safety of our citizens."

And the Liberal Democrats warned: "If you could stop terrorism by passing illiberal new laws, the Conservatives would have ended it ages ago."

The party's home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said: "t’s less than a year since the Conservatives passed their last piece of unnecessary, reactionary legislation in the name of combatting terrorism, and they’re already proposing another one.

"We need policies based on evidence, not cheap headlines. Judges already have the power to lock up terrorists for life; tying their hands with mandatory minimum sentences simply won’t help. And polygraphs simply aren’t accurate or reliable enough for such critical decisions."

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