On the request of its Chair, the Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz MP, Quilliam submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee for the Counter-Terrorism Inquiry, in order to review the policy of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) and their implementation.
In the evidence submitted, Quilliam argues, as it has consistently over the last 5 and a half years, that democracy will only defeat extremism from a human rights-based perspective, not by mimicking it. We see that, rather than merely a legal or military challenge, extremism and terrorism are now firmly entrenched social phenomena threatening social, economic, political, civil and cultural rights across the world, and must be approached from a civil society perspective rather than exclusively through a security lens.
We argue that TPIMs, if brought further into line with human rights and integrated with counter-extremism methods including challenging extremist ideology and narratives, can be a successful component of the current counter-terrorism and counter-extremism efforts. Recent events, such as two high-profile absconders from TPIMs, and the approaching expiration of the measures for a further six individuals without ideological change, call into question the effectiveness of the current system. In addition to addressing this, we anticipate increased need for legal measures to prevent the phenomenon of British citizens fighting alongside extremist groups in Syria.
We therefore recommend the following:
1. The British traditions of justice and liberty must be upheld, not least because the failure to do so can be exploited by false extremist narratives. Therefore, the provision of a legal representative for suspects, which is currently denied under TPIMs, would help mitigate potential mistakes made by the authorities and support vulnerable people, as well as make the system more transparent and in line with the criminal justice system without compromising national security.
2. TPIMs must have an additional element that comprises deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration. TPIMs punish suspected intent but do nothing to challenge this intent as there is no element that challenges the ideology or narratives that support this.
3. A joined-up counter-extremism strategy must be pursued, including the establishment of a permanent office led by experts in counter-extremism, either elected or unelected, acting in a non-partisan capacity to ensure that the strategy is clear and consistent at judicial, policy and grassroots levels.
Quilliam Chairman Maajid Nawaz says:
“If TPIMs are to be kept, they will be of limited or no use unless combined with a human rights-based, civil society-supported and joined-up approach to countering extremism that includes the challenging of ideological narratives, deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration at every stage.”