Tougher jail terms considered in review of counter-terrorism powers in UK

Tougher jail terms considered in review of counter-terrorism powers in UK

A crackdown on online "safe spaces" and longer prison sentences for terror offences will be considered as part of a major review of counter-terrorism powers in the UK.

British ministers have pledged to examine whether police and security services require further measures to confront the threat after a flurry of deadly attacks.

The review will weigh up whether tougher jail terms for those found guilty of terror offences are necessary.

Official figures show sentences handed to those convicted of terror-related charges have been increasing.

In the year to the end of March, the most common term was between four and 10 years, accounting for 41% of the cases.

This denoted a shift compared to the previous two years, when the most frequent sentence length was between one and four years.

The counter-terror review is included among the "non-legislative" measures outlined in the Queen's Speech - but the British Government insisted it "will not hesitate" to introduce new legislation if necessary.

British officials will also look at what further steps need to be taken to halt the spread of extremist material and "poisonous" propaganda online.

This will include working internationally and encouraging technology companies to remove harmful content from their networks.

The speech makes no specific reference to the possibility of fines for social media giants if they fail to take down terrorist propaganda, however.

An uplift in the Prevent anti-radicalisation programme and measures to restrict the movements of suspects are also expected to be looked at as part of the review.

It was launched as Britain's security agencies confront an unprecedented threat, with four attacks so far this year and hundreds of active investigations involving thousands of individuals.

Meanwhile, the British Government's agenda also commits to establishing a Commission for Countering Extremism to root out extremist ideology across society and online.

The new body will be tasked with exposing examples, helping ministers identify new policies and supporting the the promotion and defence of "pluralistic values" across communities.

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