UK warned on loosening anti-terror laws
London - The British government would get rid of its measures to detain terror suspects "at their peril", its independent reviewer of anti-terror laws said on Monday.
Britain's counter-terror legislation is under revision, with newspaper reports suggesting that control orders - a loose form of house arrest involving electronic tagging and home curfews - might be scrapped.
The review was due to report before the New Year but has been delayed until early 2011 due to ongoing wrangling in Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition.
Lord Alex Carlile said the government would not be forgiven if it ditched control orders and another attack like the 2005 London bombings occurred.
"I don't like control orders as a concept," Carlile wrote in The Sun newspaper.
"However, as the government does not dispute now that it has seen the evidence, there is a group of people against whom there is robust evidence that they are very serious terrorists, but who cannot be prosecuted."
He said this could be due to the need to protect the lives of sources.
There are currently eight control orders in force, all on British citizens.
Carlile suggested something similar to control orders should at least be retained, including the current restrictions of freedom.
"Security and police chiefs have made clear the necessity for the orders. We ignore their advice literally at our peril," he wrote.
A Home Office spokesperson said: "The counter-terrorism legislation review is under way and we will report back shortly. No decisions have yet been made."
In his New Year message, Cameron said Britain had to combat its home-grown Islamic extremism problem in 2011, saying the threat was "as serious today as it ever has been".
Britain's terror threat level is set at "severe", meaning an attack is considered highly likely.
The December 11 Stockholm suicide bombing was perpetrated by a man thought to have been radicalised in England, and last month nine men from across Britain were charged with plotting a terror attack.