DCSIMG

‘Collection of information’ charge is a top tool for counter-terrorists

  • by Kevin Mullan
 

More people have been successfully prosecuted for collecting information or pictures useful to terrorists than for any other offence under the Terrorism Act 2000 since its enactment in the United Kingdom.

And last year more people were also tried and convicted for the collection of information useful for an act of terrorism than for any other offence under terrorism legislation.

Figures published by the Home Office show the extent to which the collection of information and the maintenance of a record - including photographs or electronic records - is leading to successful prosecutions.

Thirty-one people have been convicted for the “collection of information useful for an act of terrorism,” when this was the principal and most serious offence for which they were charged between 2001 and 2013.

There were more convictions for this offence than for membership, fundraising, non-disclosure of information relating to terrorist investigations, obstruction, weapons training, possession of articles for terrorist use, incitement of terrorist acts overseas and failure to comply with duties at ports or borders under Schedule 7.
Over the past decade the “collection of information” accounted for more convictions than every other offence under current terrorism legislation apart from the offence of “preparation for terrorist acts,” which accounted for 53 convictions under the Terrorism Act 2006.

In 2012/13 more people were tried in the United Kingdom for the collection of information useful for an act of terrorism than for any other offences under terrorism legislation.

The conviction rate was high. Nine people were tried and eight of those were convicted.

The only other successful prosecutions under the Terrorism Act 2000 last year were for fundraising (two convictions), whilst one person was successfully prosecuted for the “encouragement of terrorism” and two others were successfully prosecuted for the “preparation of terrorist acts” under the Terrorism Act 2006.

The Sentinel asked the Home Office if it kept a record of the literature or photographs which had led to arrests under Section 58 of the Terrorism Act, since its enactment.

The paper also asked if it knew what happened to such items once convictions are secured. The Home Office replied that it didn’t hold this information.

The Sentinel asked if it had a policy regarding seditious, extremist literature and whether it maintained lists of magazines, books or websites that are of specific interest.

The Home Office replied that it didn’t have such a policy, but added: “The police and the Counter Terrorism Internet Referrals Unit have the power to take action against material that breaches legal thresholds.”

 

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