Scrambling to meet the security and political challenges posted by British jihadists who travel to Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced new measures to stop them from returning to the country.
Making a statement in the House of Commons, Cameron said that it was “abhorrent” that British citizens had “declared their allegiance” to groups like the Islamic State and the Levant (ISIS), and added that the government was looking at “specific and discretionary” powers to bar suspects from returning home.
The measures include giving the police new powers to seize the passports of terror suspects and stop British jihadists from travelling and returning to the country.
There are major legal implications of depriving a British citizen of a passport, and the issue has been a point of tension between the ruling coalition partners, Conservative and Liberal Democrats. Rendering citizens stateless is regarded illegal in international law.
Cameron announced that terror suspects will be forced to enter de-radicalisation programmes and could be forced to relocate from the normal place of living.
Such individuals will be ordered to participate in programmes to combat their fanatical views.
They may also be forced to leave their home town or city and move away from associates under revived powers to relocate terror suspects.
The ability to relocate suspects to other areas was abandoned when control orders were replaced by the weaker terrorism prevention and investigation measures following a series of court rulings.
Nearly 500 British Muslism have reportedly travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongsode rebel forces, raising the prospect of their indulging in violence on return here.
Britain’s terror threat level was raised from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’ last week.