The review looked at 6 powers:
- Detention of suspects before charge;
- Stop and Search and Photography;
- use by local authorities of powers in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA);
- measures to deal with organisations which promote hatred;
- Deportation with assurances
- control orders.
The review found that some of the powers were neither proportionate nor necessary and certain changes are now planned. A return to 14 days as the standard maximum period of detention before charge or release; amendment of the terrorism stop and search powers so that they are available only in more limited situations; greater restrictions on the use by local authorities of RIPA 2000 (including magistrate authorisation); stronger effort to deport foreign nationals involved in terrorist activities; replacement of the control order system with new "terrorism prevention and investigation measures" (T-Pim).
Implementation of these changes will require the enactment of primary legislation. Meanwhile, the various existing powers will continue in force.
Addendum 27th January 2011: The Times editorial stated that the Home Secretary has diluted rather than abolished the control order regime. It is still an affront to justice and should be replaced by better surveillance. The rebranding does nothing to alter the basic injustice of the control order regime. The founding presumption of British justice is that we are innocent and have to be proven guilty. By imposing a form of imprisonment, even without charge, let alone without trial, control orders (are) a breach of a vital principle. The best response to the terrorist threat is (they argued) to improve and intensify the surveillance of suspects. This will be expensive and time-consuming but would be worth it. A further article - "£80m to step up surveillance after end of anti-terror control orders" - points out that Lord Macdonald QC was critical of the replacement measures for control orders.
The Guardian's editorial (here)stated that the government has not found a way to abolish the distasteful practice of restricting the liberty of suspects without the prospect of prosecution or trial. It has fallen short of hopes of ridding the law of this particular bit of authoritarianism. The government's proposals sustain - and by removing the need for regular parliamentary approval arguably entrench - the home secretary's ability to restrict the liberty of citizens without putting a case against them or securing a prosecution. They concluded by saying that the precise terms of the replacement for control orders has been fudged even if some of the worst excesses will be removed.
The Guardian's view about entrenching these powers into the law has cogency. It could well be preferable for parliament to insist on retaining the right to periodically vote on these exceptional powers. The Independent Reviewer Reports could perhaps form a basis for such a debate and vote.
The Defence Brief blog carried an interesting view on this subject - Control Order Lite.
Law think also has an interesting view which considers some of Lord Macdonald's views - see "Losing control ... orders? Theresa May, Lord Macdonald and TPIMs."