TOUGHER sentences for the most serious terrorist offenders are at the heart of the UK Government’s overhaul of its counter-terrorism measures, announced today, in wake of last month’s fatal London Bridge attack.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, also set out plans to:

*end early release for convicted terrorists;

*boost funding for the counter-terrorist police by £90 million to £906m in 2020/21 and

*review the support given for victims of terrorism, including an immediate £500,000 for the Victims of Terrorism Unit.

A new Counter-Terrorism Bill, which will be introduced by spring, would, said the Government, force dangerous terrorist offenders who received extended determinate sentences to serve the whole time behind bars and ensure those convicted of serious offences such as preparing acts of terrorism or directing a terrorist organisation spent a mandatory minimum of 14 years in prison.

The legislation will also overhaul the terrorist licensing regime, doubling the number of specialist counter-terrorism probation officers and introducing measures such as polygraph testing as well as increasing the number of places available in probation hostels so that authorities can keep closer tabs on terrorists in the weeks after they are released from prison.

Ms Patel said: “The senseless terror attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in November confronted us with some hard truths about how we deal with terrorist offenders, which is why we immediately announced a review into sentencing and licence conditions, to do whatever is necessary to stop these sickening attacks from taking place.

“Today, we are delivering on those promises, giving police and probation officers the resources they need to investigate and track offenders, introducing tougher sentences, and launching major reviews into how offenders are managed after they are released.

“We will also review the support available for victims and their families to make sure they receive the help they need,” she added.

The Government will also launch a sweeping independent review of the way different agencies, including police, probation service, and the security services investigate, monitor and manage terrorist offenders called Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements. This will be led by Jonathan Hall QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

“Terrorists pose a great risk to our society and our way of life, which is why we must bring them to justice and keep the public safe,” declared Mr Buckland.

“Coupled with our strong measures to manage terrorists behind bars, this Counter-Terrorism Bill toughens restrictions on offenders’ communications, increases the number of specialist staff managing them and will ensure they are monitored effectively,” he added.

But Diane Abbott for Labour said after 10 years in government, a major overhaul was an “admission of failure”.

She said: “Major terrorist outrages have occurred all too frequently, including attacks by perpetrators who were known to the security services.

“The fight against terrorism has been undermined by cuts to policing, including community policing, a lack of effective coordination between police and security services as well as the flawed Prevent programme,” declared the Shadow Home Secretary.

“All of these need to change if we are going to improve the safety of our citizens,” she added.

Alongside the Bill, the Government is making a major investment in counter terrorism resources in prisons and probation. The package of measures being announced include:

*doubling the number of counter-terrorism specialist probation staff, who will deliver a set of new, intensive national standards for managing terrorists on licence so that there will be closer monitoring and reporting requirements;

*an increase in the number of specialist psychologists and specially trained imams, who play a vital role in assessing risk and challenging the beliefs of radicalised offenders and

* a rise in the resources dedicated to training front-line prison and probation staff, who are the first line of defence in identifying and challenging extremism in prisons and probation.