Coffee House

New terrorism control measures under the spotlight

2 January 2013

3:26 PM

2 January 2013

3:26 PM

It has not been a very happy start to the new year for Theresa May, who will have to answer difficult questions in the Commons about the disappearance of a terrorism suspect. Ibrahim Magog has been on the run since Christmas eve when police first realised he had failed to meet the conditions of his overnight residence requirements.

Magog has been under investigation for two years and is believed to have trained with al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. The group has waged a violent campaign in East Africa and has long threatened attacks against the West (although none have actually materialised). What will trouble the Home Secretary most is that Magog was subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures  which she introduced last year to replace Control Orders.


The idea was that TPIMs should address the concerns of civil liberties campaigners who argued that Control Orders violated the human rights of suspects. That is not an altogether unreasonable charge on initial examination. The idea that individual liberties might be curtailed on the basis of secret evidence, heard in private, on charges unknown to both the accused and their counsel affronts most senses of equity.

May claimed to have redressed the balance last year by introducing TPIMs, arguing the new regime would be more flexible and geared towards facilitating criminal investigations. There is, however, little material difference between Control Orders and TPIMs. While secret evidence and closed hearings remain in place it appears only the practical measures designed to protect public safety have been pared down.

When Magog was originally detained and placed on a Control Order in 2010 he was forcibly relocated to the West of England, cutting him off from his radical network in London. Such relocations are prohibited under TPIMs and Magog was allowed back. The dangers of this are accentuated by another change which removes provisions for the Home Secretary to prohibit a suspect from associating with specific people. It is now believed that Magog was back in contact with his old network shortly before absconding.

Critics of TPIMs have long argued they are little more than a cosmetic measure designed to assuage public opinion. It is that very constituency who will now be looking to the Home Secretary for answers about how Magog was able to flee and whether a Control Order might have worked better.

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  • iDeb8

    “While secret evidence and closed hearings remain in place it appears only the practical measures designed to protect public safety have been pared down.”

    Theresa May better advised to follow the regime preferred by the Met management for evidence and hearings, especially as their transparency regarding open discussion of public safety has already been pared down beyond the bone:

    Unless police reform is implemented with due regard for warnings from those near the ground concerning increased risks to public safety and security – rather than ignoring them and having their messenger silenced – any Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures are likely to remain as pared down as the thin blue line anticipated to collapse during any future riots (

    Fear not though, that is only intended to persuade any who survive of the burning need to bolster our defences with mercenaries – mostly redundant or retired police, at that stage employed by some G4S-a-like company, perhaps indirectly donating to May’s party.

    No doubt the often non-UK corporate shareholders of the ‘G4S-a-likes’ will already have donated indirectly via think tanks awarded charity status as a mask, enough to have ‘persuaded’ top politicians of the merits of current policies and how they should be implemented – with the prospect of a lucrative directorship or two in the beneficiaries:

    Then, once the G4S-a-likes have ‘persuaded’ us to replace any
    consumer-friendly influence from supra-national bodies like the EU
    parliament and UN with their own, the corporate friends of the Tea Party
    and their acolytes will finally have had their Bostonian revenge and rewards.

    This self-harming negative ‘fear-back’ loop began when Blair lied to us for Bush over terrorism and continues as Cameron & Co. does the same for banks and other corporate supporters and contract beneficiaries. Will a low-paid cleaner, soldier, nurse, policeman or teacher ever be championed instead?

    Before implementing Leveson in full, we need a new UK First Amendment to ensure that the successful cover-up of corruption & conspiracies by anyone is (at least) reduced by sufficient enforced transparency, eg:

    “Parliament shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances – whether at work or leisure.”

  • ToryOAP

    There are only 2 questions Mrs May should answer: who let this scumbag in, and, why wasn’t it possible to send him back to Somalia? Anything else is an irrelevance.

  • ExUKplod


    You seem to overlook Control Orders actually had little real control over their subjects. The administering court, SIAC, refused IIRC to allow supervision using GPS enabled technology, so very basic “at home” monitoring was used. The best indicator comes from the fact in the six years of control orders, there were seven absconds, and in six of cases the individual was never found in the UK. It was almost as if the Home Office preferred them to abscond.

    Given how few ‘Control Orders’ or TPIM have existed compared to the public statements by Home Office ministers and the Security Service that there are thousands of “persons of interest” one wonders what value they really have. This particular person has been under investigation for years, you refer to ‘two years’ and no doubt was under investigation before an application was made for a TPIM.


    I have a growing sense that Nigel Farage will indeed have an important part to play in the next few years. I am not a member of UKIP. I am not sure that I have any confidence in political parties. But I am certainly giving UKIP all my support locally and nationally however and wherever I can if there is any hope of them galvanizing national action towards a conservative social and political revolution.

    • Wessex Man

      I normally look forward to your comments,is it the Office Party playing with my head but that doesn’t make sense, given that Nig hates Dave and Dave thinks he’s a fruit cake, yeah it must be the hangover.

  • Austin Barry

    ‘..he was forcibly relocated to the West of England.’

    Lands End and a polite push would’ve solved the problem.

  • In2minds

    Leave the EU and put back border controls, would that help?

    • Chris

      We have border controls.

    • telemachus

      Short answer no
      You folk would turn any issue into Faragism.
      What would help is a blanket trawl of mobiles and IP providers with remotely anything to do with this miscreant and the sooner the law is passed to allow that the better.
      Down here in Aukland a splendid multicultural city this just would not happen

    • George_Arseborne

      How open is the border? This guy is from Somali not EU. Can you listen to yourself and realised that it was an error to put in this set of confuse Tory -Lib Dem government. They a cctually work by trial and error. How long are we going to keep up with this,, is the big question.