check_circle Done

Crime Crime

Consider what new criminal offences might be needed to defeat extremism

Last updated: 10:00am 31 January 2019

We will consider what new criminal offences might need to be created, and what new aggravated offences might need to be established, to defeat the extremists.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.55

Our verdict

There is no universally accepted definition of “extremism”, but the government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy says:

“Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed forces as extremist.”

This policy is a promise to “consider” new criminal offences or aggravated offences (often meaning those involving an increased level of guilt, or a crime with especially serious consequences) in the attempt to defeat extremists.

The principal piece of legislation aimed at countering terrorism in the UK is the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act.

In June 2018, a new bill was introduced in the House of Commons, the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. This bill proposes to update and extend many existing offences and to introduce new offences to:

“ensure that the punishment properly reflects the crime, better preventing re-offending, and ensure that terrorist offending can be disrupted more rapidly”

As well as the new bill, government has created the Commission for Countering Extremism, an advisory body, which undertook a consultation on extremism that finished on 31 January 2019. One of the focuses of the consultation was “how government should strengthen its response to extremism”.

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill looks likely to become law, and the consultation by the Commission for Countering Extremism is further evidence that the government is acting on this policy pledge to “consider” new criminal offences. We’re marking this as ‘done’. Follow this policy to see the outcome of the consultation and to find out when the bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Consider the facts

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.