'No terrorist who is a threat to public safety should be free to walk the streets' - PCC Kim McGuinness says as government races to block Sunderland terrorist's release
The Government needs to do more to tackle radicalisation of prisoners, says Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness was speaking after reports a Sunderland shopkeeper jailed for encouraging terrorism on social media could be released from prison later this month unless a new piece of legislation is rushed through by the Government.
Ministers are facing a race against time to pass the emergency law following a terror attack in Streatham, South London, on Sunday, February 2, as police chiefs warned the threat of terrorism was "not diminishing."
A target of Thursday, February 27, has been set to get the Bill through Parliament in order to prevent the automatic release of any further terrorists.
It is understood Sunderland shopkeeper Mohammed Zahir Khan is due for release a day later than the target – Friday, February 28 – with around five further offenders expected to be let out in March unless the new law is in force.
Khan, who was jailed for four-and-a-half years in May 2018 for posting messages and material that was supportive of IS on social media, was told by a judge at Newcastle Crown Court that it was “clear” he supported the terrorist group.
Kim McGuinness welcomed moves to stop his release but said more needed to be done to tackle radicalisation and lack of rehabilitation in general.
She said: “I am clear that if you are a threat to public safety you shouldn’t be on our street.
"But there is another issue here that the Government wants us to overlook, and that’s what is happening to people that in too many cases they go in to prison and come out worse?
“The Government has questions to answers about what happens to dangerous individuals when they are in prison, and why in some cases they actually come out more radicalised.
“But that same question has to be asked of so many prisoners.
“We can’t keep on with a system in which some people come out worse.
“Ten years of Government cuts mean it is harder than ever to rehabilitate prisoners, we urgently need to reverse those cuts.”