Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has welcomed the announcement by Home Secretary Amber Rudd to toughen terror sentencing and address the issue of online radicalisation. Under the Home Secretary’s proposals, the maximum prison sentence for repeated viewing of terrorist material online will rise from 10 to 15 years.
Mr Chalk has been an active campaigner on the issue, repeatedly calling for a toughening of the “toothless sentencing” for terrorist acts. He last raised the issue in Parliament (22nd June 2017) asking the Home Secretary:
“At present, a person who pleads guilty to possessing a well-known extremist publication, which includes instructions for making home-made bombs, will typically be sentenced to just 14 months. So they will be out in seven months, and will still be radicalised and be a danger. Does the Home Secretary agree that the time has come to toughen up sentences under sections 57 and 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000”.
Prior to entering Parliament Mr Chalk was an experienced barrister, and prosecuted defendants charged with serious terrorist offences.
Mr Chalk commented:
“I’m delighted that the Home Secretary has agreed to increase the maximum sentence. It's vitally important that the courts have the powers they need to keep society safe. And it's good to see penalties increasing where terrorists publish information about members of the intelligence services, police or armed forces. Dedicated public servants need to be protected.
“There are also very welcome moves to update the law to deal with modern online activity. Under the Home Secretary’s proposals, the offence of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist will now also apply to material viewed repeatedly or streamed online. It's high time this loophole is closed off.”