Tougher punishments for terrorists caught in early stages of an attack

Landmark sentencing guidelines will also see offenders involved in planning terror attacks receive harsher penalties

Terrorists who are caught in the early stages of a planned attack will face tougher jail sentences under new guidelines which come into effect later this month.

Officers and staff are being advised that, for the first time, comprehensive guidance has been produced for courts in England and Wales to deal with the changing nature of terrorist offending.

The updated approach has been developed to reflect the changing nature of the terrorist threat – with a great number of offences in recent years escalating to the point of violence quicker and using 'low-tech' methods of attack such as cars or knives.

The new guidelines take into account increasing concern about the availability and sharing of extremist material online which can lead to people becoming self-radicalised.

The guidance covers a wide range of terrorism offences, including preparing a terrorist attack, causing or attempting to cause an explosion, raising funds for terrorism, failing to disclose information about terrorist acts and joining or supporting banned organisations.

Although the guidelines do not directly cover offences where death or injury are caused by acts of terrorism, since these would be charged as murder or assault, it can be used to assist in the sentencing of such offences when there is a terrorist connection.

Courts will begin using the new guidance from Friday, 27 April 2018.

In addition, public consultation on new guidelines for the sentencing of arson and criminal damage offences has been opened and will run until June 28.

You can find further details on the Sentencing Council's website.

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