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The Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

Introduction

The Counter Terrorism Division (CTD) is responsible for advising the police in all terrorism cases and is often consulted whilst the evidence is being gathered. The CTD subsequently undertakes the prosecution of those terrorism offences. The Division also deals with Violent Extremism and Related Offences (see separate entry). All review decisions made by the CPS about whether or not to prosecute are made in line with the two tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which is a public document. Further reference to this document can be found at the back of the Violent Extremism document.

Terrorism is defined in the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT 2000) and means the use or threat of action where –

  1. The action –
    1. involves serious violence against a person,
    2. involves serious damage to property,
    3. endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
    4. creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
    5. is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system AND
  2. The use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, AND
  3. The use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause
  4. Where the use or threat of action as defined above involves the use of firearms or explosives it is always terrorism, whether or not the condition in (2) above is satisfied.

Since the beginning of 2007, the CTD has successfully prosecuted a range of offences including the following:

  1. Preparing for acts of terrorism. This means engaging in conduct in preparation for committing acts of terrorism or assisting another to do so (Section 5, Terrorism Act 2006)
  2. Training for Terrorism by providing instruction or training in certain skills, e.g. the making, handling or use of a noxious substance, in the knowledge that the trainee intends to use such skills for terrorist purposes (Section 6, Terrorism Act 2006). Also, those who attend 'training camps', i.e. any place used for terrorist training, commit an offence under Section 8, TACT 2006.
  3. Dissemination of terrorist publications is an offence under Section 2, TACT 2006. The section includes the distribution, circulation, giving, selling, lending or otherwise making available such publications, in any form. The person disseminating must intend or be reckless as to whether his conduct in doing this encourages, induces or provides assistance to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
  4. Possessing information for terrorist purposes or collecting information of a kind to provide practical assistance to a person committing an act of terrorism. This includes having manuals about making explosives. The information can be in any form, written, photographic or electronic (Sections 57 and 58, Terrorism Act 2000).
  5. Fundraising for Terrorism (in the UK or abroad) or agreeing with others to do so, including using the money or property so realised, are offences under Sections 15-17 Terrorism Act 2000. This can also include Money Laundering under Section 18.
  6. Failing to disclose information which a person knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism or in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person involved in an act of terrorism (Section 38B, Terrorism Act 2000).
  7. Conspiracy to murder.
  8. Conspiracy to cause explosions.

Successful prosecutions since the end of 2006