Terror suspect came close to London’s Olympic Park five times
Weakened security laws allowed a suspected terrorist to get close to the venue for the Olympic Games five times in recent months, according to the shadow home secretary.
Yvette Cooper demanded to know yesterday whether the incidents posed a threat to London 2012 safety and pointed to watered-down UK government anti-terrorism measures.
Court papers show that the 24-year-old, known as CF, was arrested and faces criminal proceedings after the authorities found he took trains through the Olympic Park despite being banned from the area. His movements were picked up because he has to wear an electronic tag as part of restrictions imposed on him by an order under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act – referred to as a “Tpim”.
CF’s lawyers insist that he only used the route to visit a solicitor dealing with his legal challenge against the order – due to be heard by the High Court today – and had been wrongly advised that was acceptable.
But Labour said the fact that he was able to be in London at all – after being ordered under the previous anti-terror regime to stay out of the city altogether – highlighted a serious problem.
Tpims replaced the control orders system previously used to restrict the movements and contacts of individuals thought to pose a risk to the public, but who cannot be tried for reasons of national security. Under the new regime the coalition stripped authorities of the right to forcibly relocate suspects, a power which had been opposed by the Liberal Democrats.
The Home Secretary has since proposed reserve powers that would enable enforced relocation in exceptional circumstances – but they would need parliamentary approval.
Experts, including the government’s independent reviewer of terror laws, had called for the relocation powers to be retained at least until after the Olympics.
Ms Cooper said the multiple breaches of the Tpim “raise very serious questions about the Home Secretary’s judgment in downgrading counter-terror powers in Olympic year against expert advice”.
“Theresa May has very urgent questions to answer about how her decisions allowed this terror suspect who was previously banned from London to go repeatedly to Stratford, home of the Olympic Park,” she said.
“The reports show that last year this terror suspect was seen as sufficiently dangerous for the Home Office and the courts to ban him from London.
“Yet this year, because the Home Secretary downgraded control orders to Tpims, he was allowed back into the capital and was able to travel to the Olympic area as a result.”
A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “CF has been charged with five offences of breaching his Tpim.”
She added that his next criminal court appearance was scheduled for 27 July.
However, a Home Office source said that the man was never in the Olympic Park and was travelling on a train suggesting, “Tpims are working”.
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