Massive public support for tough terror controls – poll

By DAVID WOODING

TERRORIST suspects should be put under strict new control orders to curb their movements, Theresa May has been warned.

Most people think the system of monitoring extremists is useless and want Britain’s homeland security beefed up urgently.

Six out of ten are demanding the return of control orders, scrapped in 2011 because they infringed the liberty of suspects.

And they want British Muslims who leave to fight with jihadists in Syria or Iraq placed under house arrest when they return to the UK.

The PM is urged to take a much harder line on home-grown radicals in an exclusive ICM poll for The Sun on Sunday.

Brits gave Mrs May a powerful message of support for almost any action to protect keep the country safe – even if it hits their own civil liberties.

The majority of people believe human rights laws are too heavily tilted in favour of terrorists and criminals and not the public they are meant to protect.

Seven out of ten believe security services should be given more power to spy on people – by checking phone, internet and email data.

An overwhelming 72 per cent believe snooping is justified, even if it erodes civil liberties. They outnumber those opposed to it by a massive eight to one.

Two-thirds of people are in favour of companies being compelled to give up encrypted mobile phone data to spy chiefs. They believe this would disrupt terrorists using phone apps to plot their atrocities without being detected.

Tory MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons home affairs committee, said last night: “This poll shows just how much the whole argument around terrorism and civil liberties has moved on.

“People are now overwhelmingly more concerned about keeping our country safe in the wake of recent atrocities on the continent.

“If that means giving up some of our civil liberties, it’s a price that many people feel is worth paying.”

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Support for more draconian action against extremists has grown in the wake of recent atrocities in Nice and Paris.

And our poll suggest they Mrs May would boost her no-nonsense image if she were to bring back control orders.

The tool was used to put suspects under house arrest, restrict where they travel, who they meet and stop them using the internet or smart phones.

But they were ditched by the coalition government after protests from Lib Dem deputy leader Nick Clegg that they breached human rights.

They were replaced by weaker Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, known as T-Pims.

But only one terrorist in Britain is subject to the order – and he is using taxpayers’ money to fight a legal battle to have it lifted.

This is despite there being at least 2,000 fanatics at large in Britain, The Sun on Sunday revealed last week.

More than half of people – 58 per cent – think that terror suspects restricted by any court order should be banned from claiming legal aid to fight it, our poll reveals.

Some 41 per cent believe human rights laws give most protection to criminals and those engaged in the planning of terrorist acts. This compares with only 33 per cent who think they safeguard the public and victims of crime and terrorism.

The T-Pim order – the toughest tool at the disposal of security services – is seen as ineffective by most people.

And 63 per cent would support the return of the more restrictive control order – ten times the number who would oppose it.

Even among young people – more guarded about civil liberties – there is overwhelming support for it.

Fifty per cent of people aged 18 to 24 support control orders, compared with 13 per cent in the same age bracket who oppose them.

A similar number, 62 per cent, say all British subjects who chose to fight in support of IS in war zones such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan should automatically be subject to orders on their return.

Mr Loughton said the poll highlights a changing mood in the general public in response to the heightened terrorist threat.

The MP added: “We are only too aware of the enemy beyond the Channel but we now need to define the way we deal with the enemy within.

“That must mean better surveillance and anybody who has been to war zones such as Syria should be more strictly monitored. This is a wake-up call.

“Despite the fantastic work our intelligence and security services do to keep us safe, the law needs to be toughened to make sure the terrorist menace does not get across the Channel to wreak havoc with the every-day freedoms we often take for granted.”

Seven in ten would support restrictions on their OWN freedom of movement around the EU if it made it harder for terrorists to operate freely.

One in four believes Britain will be safer once we have left the EU – but nearly half think it will make no difference.

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