‘Seize Passports’ Says Police Chief!

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MET POLICE chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said yesterday that he backs a call to seize the passports from Britons who go abroad to fight with militants in Syria and Iraq.

He also wants ‘something like’ control orders to restrict the movement of terror suspects to be brought back.

He said that anything which ‘stops them from going or . . . from coming back is a good idea.’

Home secretary May has already proposed changes to the law to tackle ‘extremism’.

She was followed up by Mayor of London Boris Johnson who said in a newspaper article at the weekend that Britons who travel to ‘war areas’ should be presumed to be potential terrorists unless they can prove otherwise, and have their passports taken from them.

He also suggested that people with ‘allegiance to a terrorist state’ should lose their British citizenship.

Howe was asked if he would support calls for passports to be taken away.

He said: ‘If it works, we should do that. It seems to me it’s a privilege to have a passport and be a citizen of this country, and if you’re going to start fighting in another country on behalf of another state, or against another state, it seems to me that you’ve made a choice about where you want to be.’

He added: ‘The big thing for us, that we have talked about is if we can get an assumption that when people come back and they have been to Syria, they have been involved in terrorism – if they can prove they haven’t, then it’s up to them.’

Control orders were scrapped in 2011 and replaced with the less restrictive Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims).

Hogan-Howe told LBC that control orders ‘were stopped because the threat was reduced and quite properly they were seen as too intrusive. But I think these things have got to be considered when the drum beat changes’.

He continued that his officers were going to do more to tackle street extremism that stops short of terrorism, and that there had been ‘too much sensitivity’ over tackling hate preachers on the streets of the London.

‘We are not going to allow them to block the streets – they cannot preach hate and it is very clear that it has left a fertile ground for those (who) are wanting to abuse the privileges of a democracy.’