Pat McFadden Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East Pat McFadden MP for Wolverhampton South East
Legislating on early release only deals with part of the issue with prisoners serving sentences for terrorism related offences. Even if the prisoners serve more of their sentence, at some point they come to the end of it and you then have the issue of how to monitor and control people who may still be ideologically committed extremists.
Keeping watch on these people places a huge strain on the police and intelligence services. It is impossible to guarantee that those trying to protect us can prevent every attack but we should be doing everything we can to help them. That means that as well as sentencing, the Government has to address their mistaken decision to weaken the supervision regime that was in place when they abolished Control orders.
I said at the time that it was an enormous mistake for the Conservatives to water down control orders after they came in to office. Control orders were a tough regime for supervising recently released terrorists and those who were suspected of being involved in terrorist networks. They were replaced by a weaker system that gave terror suspects greater freedom to move around and great access to the internet and mobile phones. This weaker regime also put more pressure on the security services in terms of keeping watch on these suspects.
Control Orders allowed terrorists to be removed to other parts of the country and away from networks of like minded extremists. It was a mistake to replace this regime with a weaker system. If we are to respond properly to incidents where recently released terrorists commit crimes we have to deal with the post release supervision system as well as sentencing itself.