- So-called T-Pims are toughest tool security services have to protect public
- Supposed to ensure police and MI5 can control the movements of fanatics
- Used for those not yet prosecuted or deported by curbing their freedoms
- But since 2013, the number of T-Pims used has fallen from nine to only one
Only one extremist in Britain is now subject to an official anti-terror order despite there being at least 2,000 fanatics at large in the UK, it can be revealed today.
The so-called T-Pims – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures – are the toughest tool the security services have to restrict the activities of terror plotters.
They replaced the more restrictive Control Orders which were axed in 2011 at the behest of then Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg following a row over human rights.
The so-called T-Pims – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures – are the toughest tool the security services have to restrict the activities of terror plotters. Pictured, a police officer on patrol in London
T-Pims are supposed to ensure that the police and MI5 can protect the public from British-based fanatics who cannot yet be prosecuted or deported by placing curbs on their movements and activities.
But a statement slipped out to Parliament just before the summer recess has now revealed that, as of the end of May, only one is now in force.
As recently as 2013, there were nine.
By contrast, in the months after the Paris attacks last November, almost 400 people were placed under house arrest in France by the authorities there. British judges have been accused of weakening T-Pims by chiselling away their conditions and making it very difficult for the security services to secure them.
This has meant that they have become reluctant to seek them, fearing that they would be squandering thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on legal fees for little gain.
HOW WE KEEP TABS ON TERROR
Europe is currently facing a heightened terror threat from Islamic State following a series of atrocities in France and Germany, including the butchering of a French priest at a church in Normandy.
The UK's terror threat level is currently 'severe' – the second highest level – amid warnings that a jihadist atrocity is 'highly likely'.
critics called for a toughening up of the T-Pim regime to protect the public.
Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror legislation for ten years, said: 'It is surprising and worrying that we are down to just one T-Pim given the situation appertaining all over Europe.
'We know that there is a severe risk of a terror attack. I hope that the Government is examining the possibility of increasing the use of T-Pims or toughening them up.
'It is absolutely essential that the authorities should have the powers they need. The events in Normandy, Nice and Germany must focus ministers' minds to use all the tools at their disposal, including T-Pims.'
He said that in the last six or seven years of control orders, they were 'very effective'
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: 'It is puzzling that there is only one T-Pim in place given the number of persons who are under surveillance and the threat level.
The new Prime Minister may feel she wants to look again at this area of policy, given that she had been under pressure from her Liberal Democrat colleagues in the Coalition government to abandon control orders.'
Security chiefs have warned that hundreds of young Britons who joined Islamic State jihadis in Iraq and Syria have returned home, while others have brainwashed 'lone wolf' Muslims to carry out attacks.
Control orders were introduced by Labour to deal with dangerous extremists who could not be hauled before the courts but after 2010 they came under fire from the Lib Dems who said they were unfair because the suspects had not been found guilty of a crime.
They were replaced by T-Pims with a reduced curfew requirement of ten hours and suspects were no longer restricted on where they could live.
At the time, a Home Office spokesman said: 'We introduced T-Pims precisely because control orders were not working and their powers were being struck down by the courts.'
But last night, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said: 'In the light of the terrorist attacks that we have seen in the last year, we need an urgent review of the T-Pim regime and an assurance that it is up to the job. We need a convincing answer on why it is the case that there is only one.'
Yesterday a former senior counter terror officer said Britain has 'big problems' trying to prevent terror fanatics from carrying out an attack.
Chris Phillips said he did not believe the current regime of T-Pims was working.
Mr Phillips, the ex head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said it was known two years ago that there were 2,000 individuals on the radar of the anti-terror authorities.
'How on earth you could ever monitor 2,000 people, let alone the fact that the number that we have got now has probably increased,' he said.
He said the only solution was to lock such individuals up, but he told the BBC Britain didn't want to go down this route.
Ben Wallace, Minister of State for Security, yesterday said: 'There are a range of powers available to disrupt terrorism-related activity.'
During a visit to Italy yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May called for further intelligence-sharing in Europe in light of the terror attacks.