What is a TPIM?
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) are a package of measures imposed by way of TPIM Notice. TPIMs are wide-ranging and taken together have a draconian impact on a person’s life, not only restricting the freedom of the individual but also the freedoms of any family members who live with them.
TPIMs vary from person to person, however, they can restrict who a person is allowed to associate with, prevent them from accessing the internet or possessing a mobile phone and require members of their family to provide details to the Home Office of any internet enabled device in their possession. TPIMs can also require an individual to relocate to a residence far from their friends and family, impose a curfew and prevent them from possessing ‘weapons’ which can be understood as anything ranging from gardening tools to butter knives. Individuals are prevented from travelling abroad and are required to provide notification to the Home Office before they embark on all manner of activities, for example, an individual subject to a TPIM notice can be required to provide notification to the Home Office in advance of every occasion that they drive a car.
How is a TPIM managed?
A TPIM notice and associated schedule of measures is enforced by the local police, in conjunction with certain teams at the Home Office. Police officers will frequently attend the individual’s residence unannounced to ensure compliance with the TPIM. In certain circumstances, police officers may obtain a ‘compliance’ warrant which enables them to search an individual’s premises and/or vehicle to ensure that they are complying with the requirements of the TPIM.
What happens if you don’t comply with any of the measures imposed under a TPIM?
Breach of any measure imposed under a TPIM Notice is an extremely serious criminal offence and, depending on the measure, attracts a maximum prison sentence of between five and ten years. Allegations of a breach of any measure imposed under the TPIM Notice are investigated by the police and prosecuted in the criminal courts.
When can a TPIM be imposed?
In accordance with the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (TPIMA) (as amended by the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021 (CTSA)), the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) can impose a TPIM when the following conditions are met:
- Condition A – the SSHD must reasonably believe that the person is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity
- Condition B – some, or all of that activity must be ‘new’ terrorism-related activity – this means that the terrorism-related activity must not have already resulted in the person being made the subject of a TPIM. If they have already been made subject to a TPIM Notice, the terrorism-related activity outlined above must have taken place after that original TPIM Notice was imposed
- Condition C – the SSHD reasonably considers that it is necessary, in order to protect members of the public from a risk of terrorism, for a TPIM Notice to be imposed on the individual
- Condition D – the SSHD reasonably considered that it is necessary, in order to prevent or restrict the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity for the measures specified in the TPIM Notice and Schedule to be imposed on them
- Condition E – the SSHD must apply to the Court for permission to impose a TPIM Notice, unless she considers that the urgency of the case requires a TPIM to be imposed without obtaining such permission
In spite of the relatively low evidential threshold for imposition of a TPIM notice, in practice, TPIMs are rarely imposed. TPIMs are typically imposed on individuals where there is no prospect of securing a criminal conviction in the criminal courts for terrorism-related activity, at the time that the TPIM notice is imposed, but there are serious concerns about an individual’s activity (as set out above).
How long does a TPIM last for?
TPIMs last for one year in the first instance, however, a TPIM notice can be extended for a further year upon application by the SSHD. The CTSA has extended the maximum period that TPIMs can be imposed from two years, up to five years. This means that the SSHD can now extend a TPIM notice on four occasions, so that it lasts for a maximum period of five years. A TPIM notice can only be extended where conditions A, C and D, outlined above are met. If the SSHD is satisfied that there is evidence of ‘new’ terrorism-related activity, providing conditions A-E above are met, a new TPIM notice can be imposed which can be extended for up to five years.
Can you challenge a TPIM Notice?
Yes, you can challenge a TPIM Notice. Under section 9 TPIMA, there is a statutory review process whereby the High Court will review the decision made by the SSHD to impose a TPIM Notice. This process takes place after the TPIM has been imposed and a person will need to comply with their TPIM whilst the statutory review takes place. The High Court will consider whether the relevant conditions (described above) were met at the point that the TPIM was imposed and consider whether those conditions continue to be met, at the point of review.
Statutory review proceedings in the High Court are extremely complex. In order to make their case, the SSHD frequently relies on intelligence from the security services and other ‘closed material’ that cannot be shared with the person subject to the TPIM or their legal team for reasons of national security. This means that there will be aspects of the case against the individual that the individual and their legal team will not ever know about. In cases where the SSHD relies on ‘closed material’, Special Advocates will be appointed to represent a person’s interests in the closed component of the proceedings. When these aspects of the case are aired in Court, the person subject to the TPIM and their legal team, will be required to leave the courtroom.
What should you do if you find yourself the subject of a TPIM Notice?
The Criminal Defence and Extradition team at Bindmans has significant experience guiding individuals through these complicated and distressing proceedings. We defend individuals in statutory review proceedings in the High Court and we represent them in the associated criminal proceedings where allegations of TPIM breaches are raised.