UK Politics

Freed terrorists set to face lie detector tests after London Bridge review

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Convicted terrorists are set to face mandatory lie detector tests when they are released from prison on licence.

It is one of more than 40 recommendations from a review commissioned in the wake of last year's London Bridge attack.

Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23 were stabbed to death on 29 November by Usman Khan at Fishmongers' Hall, where the attacker had been attending a conference on prisoner rehabilitation.

It later emerged that the 28-year-old killer was a convicted terrorist who had been out of prison on licence for more than a year after serving half of a 16-year sentence.

Image: Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt were killed by Khan

The independent review has revealed shortfalls in the monitoring of convicted terrorists, including assessment tools that "severely minimise" the seriousness of their offences.

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It also found meetings between police, the prison service and probation officers were "dominated by information exchange rather than active management" of cases.

It is believed Khan was being monitored with an electronic tag when he was released from jail.

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He had also planned to blow up the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

In a review of the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), barrister Jonathan Hall QC called for a "cultural shift" in how authorities share information about people convicted of terrorism.

He said police had a "surprisingly limited" local knowledge about such offenders, and said the Prison and Probation Service's risk assessment tool minimised the seriousness of terror offences.

The results of tests may be used to increase monitoring of terror convicts out on licence
Image: The results of tests may be used to increase monitoring of terror convicts out on licence

Mandatory polygraph (lie detector) testing for terrorists was one of 45 recommendations of the review – completed in May and published on Wednesday.

Those who perform badly during the test could face more restrictions or supervision.

Home Office minister Chris Philp said he was "already legislating" this measure, but Scotland is reportedly blocking the change.

Terrorism falls under the devolved issue of justice and the Scottish justice secretary, Humza Yousaf, has rejected a request to bring in the tests as she is "unconvinced by the policy merits", The Sun reports.

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