They’re not going on a summer holiday

As you pack your bucket and spade, I thought you might like to spare a thought for those poor people not having a summer holiday this year.  I mean, of course, those put-upon convicted UK drug traffickers who have been made subject to Travel Restriction Orders.  These were introduced as part of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, and empower the courts to restrict the movements of those who commit “trigger” offences (nothing to do with guns – it’s drug offences with an overseas link) and are sentenced to four or more years in prison, by taking away their passports for a specified period after they are released from prison.  It applies only to those with British passports – i.e. passports issued by the Government of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or a British Overseas Territory – and the actual physical passport must be surrendered to the court.  (We can’t snaffle other passports because the passports of foreign nationals remain the property of the issuing government – so we’d deport them instead.)  A TRO must last for at least two years and – deliciously – there is no maximum length.  The expectation is that the period of the travel ban should escalate based on the level of sentence, and a TRO of any length can be reviewed (and perhaps revoked or suspended) after the minimum two year period.  Penalties for breaches of TROs include fines and up to five years in prison.

So as you slip a third pair of flip-flops into your suitcase and imagine your first sip of that poolside cocktail, do shed a few salty tears for Merseyside drug dealer Jason Fitzgibbon, who won’t be seeing the Mediterranean sun for quite some time: when he gets out of prison in about a decade, he’ll be subject to a five-year TRO.  And his near-neighbour Mark “Mr Big” Brown will serve a similar term, and then have to wait seven more years before he can paddle in any warm Caribbean waters.  Shame, isn’t it?

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4 Responses to They’re not going on a summer holiday

  1. David Winch says:

    Travel restrictions are going to become more common now as they can, from 1 June 2015, be attached to confiscation orders under s13A PoCA 2002 (inserted by s7 Serious Crime Act 2015).

  2. Robert James Long says:

    (In Tomorrows World Voiceover)
    “In the future physical business meetings will be a thing of the past! New communications technology will allow us to met in virtual spaces with people all round the world! Encryption will ensure privacy…”

    Of course in transpires people still like meeting in person so for all the teleconferencing, virtual conferencing and the like the business trip has yet to go out of fashion, too bad for carbon footprints.
    But if we travel ban enough drug dealers I wonder if you’ll actually see the promise of this technology finally reaped by a class of entrepreneurial folk who can’t travel for other reasons? All the fun criminal business trips will have to go to minions further down the hierarchy rather than the bosses themselves?
    Such musing aside I think the Travel restriction orders are a bit too late to be truly useful in a enforcement capacity. In terms of fighting crime and punishment it sometimes seems like we are metaphorically breeding faster horses while the Model T is being invented. Our big targets be they movers of commodities or cash are already embracing a virtual world faster than we are, this sort of thing is more likely to annoy the individual cash courier than the Mr Big they seemed aimed at.

    I look forward to your thoughts on the PM’s recent speech about London Property (someone must have shown him the Transparency report or he watched the documentary). I wonder if this will translate into welcome action?

  3. You’re absolutely right, Robert – I hadn’t considered this. Although I should imagine that the Mr Bigs will still be annoyed at not being able to visit their favoured holiday and laundering destinations. I wonder if criminals get on any better with video- and tele-conferencing than I do – I loathe them both!
    Best wishes from Susan

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