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From the Law Society’s Parliamentary Report.

Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill: Committee Stage

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has its fifth sitting at Public Bill Committee stage. Richard Atkinson, Co-Chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee previously gave evidence to the Committee and our evidence was referenced twice during the session.

Amendments relating to the retention of biometric data were discussed as was the Prevent strategy and terrorism reinsurance arrangements. The session transcript is available here and a summary is included below.

Gavin Newland MP (SNP, Paisley and Renfrewshire North) spoke on amendments 14 -20 which were tabled in his name and related to the governance and retention of biometrics. He referenced the concern shared by Richard Atkinson, Co-Chair of the Law Society’s Criminal Law Committee, who previously gave evidence to the committee and who had stated it is right that individuals’ data is not routinely withheld.

Nik Dakin MP (Labour, Scunthorpe) also reference Richard Atkinson’s evidence stating that any extension of time periods needed to be justified by objective evidence. Mr Dakin asked the Minister if there was further objective evidence to support his argument on extension of time periods. The Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace MP argued in response that five years give investigators that extra time and some of these investigations take a lot of time.

Gavin Newlands MP said the Labour Front Bench has tabled an amendment that retains the Biometric Commissioner’s oversight, though it also retains the five years. Mr Newlands stated that he would be supporting the amendment put forward by the Labour Front Bench and for this reason he withdraw the amendment.

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