Policing Terrorism: Research Studies into Police Counterterrorism Investigations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Policing Terrorism

Research Studies into Police Counterterrorism Investigations, 1st Edition

By David Lowe

CRC Press

203 pages

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pub: 2015-08-25
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Based primarily upon information from the UK Special Branch Counterterrorism Unit, Policing Terrorism: Research Studies into Police Counterterrorism Investigations takes you through the mechanics of a counterterrorism investigation. A combination of legal and empirical research, this entry in the Advances in Police Theory and Practice book series examines subjects that include surveillance, intelligence gathering, and informants. It also addresses practical obstacles in counterterrorist investigations.

The first section of the book conducts a comparative study of laws governing terrorist investigations in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia. It compares the legal definition of terrorism in each country and how it has been incorporated into the statutes regarding terrorism—except in the case of the US, which has not established a definition of terrorism. The book locates similarities in the legal jurisdictions of cooperating countries and discusses how legal gaps can create difficulties for international cooperation.

The second section contains empirical studies on practical aspects of terrorist investigations and the activities of terrorist organizations. It evaluates operational officers’ discretion in using the powers granted to them and analyzes terrorist organizations’ methods in radicalizing and recruiting people to their causes. It also explores the critical role of informants in gathering intelligence, covering a broad range of issues including integrity, risk assessment, ethics of handling informants, police interrogation of suspects, and the use of informants at trial.

With many governments currently at a high threat level, increased international cooperation among counterterrorism agencies is imperative. Policing Terrorism presents several pathways to generating more effective cooperation. It provides you with information on factors that help or hurt cooperation while suggesting what can be done to improve current counterterrorist laws and practices.

Table of Contents


Legal Definition of Terrorism


Legal Definitions of Terrorism

Defining and Ascertaining Evidence That Amounts to a Religious Cause

A Religious Cause in Collecting or Possessing Information That May Be Useful to a Terrorist

A Religious Cause in Distributing or Circulating Terrorist Publications

Is a Wide Legal Definition of Terrorism Assisting Agencies Identifying a Disproportionate Risk in Society?


Government Policies and Statutory Preventative Measures

Government Policies Related to Preventing or Pre-Empting Acts of Terrorism: The Risk Is Not Disproportionate, The Risk Is Real

Examples of Statutory Preventative Measures

Summary on Statutory Preventative Measures

Proscribed Organizations/Listed Foreign Terrorist Organizations

Summary on Proscribed/Banned Groups

Quasi-Criminal Preventative Measures: The Example of the UK’s Terrorism Prevention and Investigative Measures Act 2011

Legal Development of Tpims

Overview of the Operation of Tpims

NSA, PRISM Project, Journalistic Material, and Schedule 7 Powers: A Case Study of a Terrorism Preventative Stop and Search Measure Used at the National Level in Response to an International Incident

Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000 Powers

Judicial Response to Schedule 7 Powers

Detention Periods and Review of Detention

Proportionality and the Interests of National Security or Individual Liberty

Summary on the High Court’s Decision in Miranda


Surveillance and International Terrorism Intelligence Exchange: Balancing the Interests of National Security and Individual Liberty


Surveillance Powers Used in Terrorism Investigations

Intelligence Exchange between the US and the UK: The Role of Europol

The Snowden Affair, National Security Interests and Protecting Individual Rights

The Importance of the Snowden Documents to UK Authorities

Balancing the Interests of National Security with Individual Rights: Democracies, Neo-Democracies and the Legal Principle of Proportionality

Legal Challenges to US Surveillance Laws

UK Courts and the ECHR

Issues Surrounding Control Orders and Blacklists

Conclusion: The Balance between the Interests of National Security and Individuals’ Liberty

Funding Terrorism


Provisions Related to Funding Terrorism under the UK’s Terrorism Legislation

The Disproportionate and Oppressive Nature of the Terrorism Order Rendering It Ultra Vires

European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) Decision Being Influential in the Supreme Court’s Decision in H.M. Treasury v Mohammad Jabar Ahmed and Others

UK’s Terror Asset-Freezing Act of 2010 (TAFA)

The US Statutory Provision in Relation to the Funding of Terrorism

The Judicial Response to Lack of Judicial Scrutiny of Asset Freezing SCRs



Lack of Discretion in High Policing


Research Methods Used

High Policing

The Dichotomy Between Previous Police Research and This Study

Initial Action Taken in CTU Counterterrorist Investigations: It Is Ownership, Not Discretion

Intelligence Gathering

CTU Operational Officers’ Attitudes Toward the Law: Followed to the Letter or Just a Rough Guide?

Terrorism Legislation: Extension of Power or Extension of Discretion?


Radicalization of Terrorist Causes: A Study of the 32CSM/IRA Threat to UK Security



Research Method Used

Background to the Research

Radicalization Process in Ireland

Loyalist Paramilitary Violence: Fueling and Legitimizing the Fire of 32CSM/IRA’s Cause?

Conclusion: Radicalizing Individuals in Britain Support to the 32CSM/IRA Cause

Recruiting Informants in Counterterrorism Investigations: Is Loss of Integrity a Noble Cause?


Noble Cause Corruption

Police Recruitment of Informants

Research Method

Turning Suspects into Informants

Role Conflict and Police Officer Integrity


Handling Informants


Law or Policy in Handling Informants

UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

Policies on the Use of Informants in Other States

Ethical Issues in Handling Informants

Informants: The Necessary Evil

Ethical Handling of Informants

The 1968-1997 Irish Troubles: A Case Study in Unethical Police Handling of Informants

Evidence of Informants

Immunity from Prosecution/Reduction in Sentence

Informant Witness Anonymity in Criminal Trials


About the Author

David Lowe is a principal lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University Law School. Prior to becoming an academic, he was a police officer for 27 years with the UK’s Merseyside Police, with the majority of his service spent as a detective in the Special Branch Counterterrorism Unit. His research in policing, terrorism, and security has been published in books and journals. He also coedited the second volume of Trends in the Judiciary: Interviews with Judges from across the Globe. He is a regular contributor to Westlaw’s legal encyclopaedia, Insight, on legal issues related to terrorism, and is regularly used by the television, radio, and the print media in the UK, Europe, and the United States for commentary in these areas.

About the Series

Advances in Police Theory and Practice

Presenting volumes that focus on the nexus between research and practice, the Advances in Police Theory and Practice series is geared toward those practitioners and academics seeking to implement the latest innovations in policing from across the world. This series draws from an international community of experts who examine who the police are, what they do, and how they maintain order, administer laws, and serve their communities.

The series eeditor encourages the contribution of works coauthored by police practitioners and researchers. Proposals for contributions to the series may be submitted to the series editor Dilip Das at dilipkd@aol.com.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism