The UK government Monday unveiled tough new measures, including a ban on insurance companies covering the cost of terrorist ransoms and stripping teenage jihadists of their passport, to counter the growing threat of terrorism.
The measures are the part of a new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill to be fast-tracked in Parliament.
Among the new measures is a ban on UK-based insurance companies covering the cost of terrorist ransoms.
The government hopes firms and families will be deterred from paying ransoms if the money cannot be claimed back.
According to UK Home Office estimates, Islamic State (IS) has raised 28 million pounds in the past 12 months.
While current laws criminalise terrorist financing, the Home Office feels there has been an element of “uncertainty” about whether insurers were prohibited from paying claims made by companies and families who had met ransom demands.
Among other key measures announced by UK Home Secretary Theresa May include barring jihadists from returning for at least two years and stripping teenage jihadists of their passport.
“Our position is clear – ransom payments to terrorists are illegal under UK and international law,” May said.
“Agreeing to meet the demands of barbaric groups like [Islamic State] would only put many more lives at risk. These measures will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global efforts to put an end to the practice,” she added.
May was speaking at the start of a week-long UK police initiative – Counter-terrorism Awareness Week – involving more than 3,000 officers, to remind the public how they can help fight terrorism.
It has also emerged that internet companies will be required to store details linking individual users with internet protocol (IP) addresses, and hand them over to police when asked to assist in identifying suspected terrorists and paedophiles.
The law will also allow the police to force internet service providers to hand over data showing who is using a computer or smartphone at any particular time.
More than 6,000 people at schools, universities, airports, shopping centres, cinemas and farms across the UK will be briefed by counter-terror officers.
Police officers and theatre groups will be speaking to students about the prevent strategy, which provides practical help to people who may be drawn into terrorism.