BRITISH citizens going to terror hotspots could face up to 10 years in jail under new laws.
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 came into force today (12) and it gives police the powers they need to disrupt terrorist plots earlier and “ensure that those who seek to do us harm face just punishment,” said home secretary Sajid Javid.
“As we saw in the deadly attacks in London and Manchester in 2017, the threat from terrorism continues to evolve and so must our response, which is why these vital new measures have been introduced,” he added.
According to the new Act, people can be jailed for viewing terrorist propaganda online, entering “designated areas” abroad and making “reckless expressions” of support for proscribed groups.
However, exemptions have been made to protect those who have a genuine reason to be in a designated area or to conduct research online.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counterterror policing, previously told The Independent the law accounted for changes in online behaviour.
“Five years ago everyone would download stuff and keep it on their hard drive – now they don’t,” he said in January.
“The law has been controversial but it has come out of good, practical cases … we’re talking about people who are a serious threat here, not people who are researching academics or writing treaties trying to help us solve the problem.”
Britain was hit by five attacks in 2017, and security officials foiled 18 plots in the past two years.