LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s terrorism watchdog has criticized the government’s proposed new security laws, describing some of the measures as an “announcement waiting for a policy”.
A bill introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday is designed to crack down on Britons wanting to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight, and to prevent veterans of those conflicts from returning unless they agree to comply with the authorities under Temporary Exclusion Orders.
David Anderson, Britain’s independent reviewer of terrorism laws, said he was concerned about the judicial checks for the latter proposal.
“I sense that this power was an announcement waiting for a policy,” he told parliament’s Committee on Human Rights, adding the powers appeared less dramatic than when first announced by Prime Minister David Cameron shortly after Britain’s terrorism level was raised to its second-highest rating.
He added: “The concern I have about this power, and the central concern about it, is where are the courts in all of this?”
Some 500 Britons are thought to have traveled to Syria and Iraq, with about 250 believed to have returned home.
West Midlands Police said officers had arrested a man, 20, and a 19-year-old woman from Walsall, central England, “on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences” at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday as they got off a flight from Turkey.
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