21.The sentencing provisions in the Bill increase the maximum sentences for four terrorist offences:
22.We were concerned that the increase in sentences did not appear to be supported by evidence to suggest why it is justified or proportionate. We are particularly concerned that a sentence of 15 years could be imposed for an offence of viewing terrorist material online. We were concerned about this even before the recent amendments that would make a single viewing sufficient to make out the offence - circumstances which further increase these concerns. We recommended that the Home Office provide further evidence as to why they consider the current maximum sentences to be insufficient and how this increase is necessary and proportionate.
23.The Government response states that they “have seen an increase in low-sophistication terrorist plots which are inspired rather than directed, and in attack operatives who are self-radicalised and self-trained without necessarily having had significant direct contact with terrorist organisations. The division between preliminary terrorist activity and attack planning is increasingly blurred.” This does not explain why existing sentencing powers are inadequate.
24.We suggest the following amendment:
Page 5, line 31, leave out subsection (3)
Comment: this amendment deletes the increase in the maximum sentence from 10 years to 15 years for the ‘collection of information’ offence provided for in section 58 Terrorism Act 2000.
14 For full details of the offences see , para 41.
15 , para 45
Published: 12 October 2018