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Dominic Casciani, Home affairs correspondent

Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent

Come here for reports and insight into home affairs as well as stories and content from around the web

Why new anti-terror powers aim to disrupt not prosecute

1 September 2014
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded by Islamic State allegedly showing militants driving at an undisclosed location in Iraq's Nineveh province
Hundreds of British nationals are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with militant groups

The government has announced a raft of new counter-terrorism powers to combat what security officials regard as a severe threat from so-called Islamic State fighters returning from Syria and Iraq.

These powers are not necessarily aimed at prosecuting more people - they are aimed squarely at disrupting them.

Over the decade or so since 9/11 the UK's counter-terror legislation has been developed to achieve both of these aims. Parliament has created a long list of terrorism-related crimes to make it easier for the police to charge suspects.

During Northern Ireland's troubles, police could use all the obvious laws relating to murder or conspiracy to commit acts of violence.

Today's permanently-enacted counter-terrorism powers are drawn more widely and cover specifics such as training for terrorism - or possession of information of use to terrorists - or glorification of terrorist acts. Arguably the most useful crime is preparing for acts of terrorism because it allows someone to be charged long before they have started acting on plans for violence - one man was jailed for life last year for preparing for attacks.

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Immigration figures show UK is increasingly European

28 August 2014
Gatwick airport arrivals
Hallo, Ciao, Bonjour, Czesc! More and more EU workers

The latest release of migration statistics are part of the story of an open market economy in a globalised world.

But they also reveal the indirect effect of the UK's historic shift in focus from its own former empire to the continent on its doorstep.

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Analysis: The Prevent strategy and its problems

26 August 2014
Three young men in an extremist recruitment video
Young Britons have appeared with other extremists in a recruitment video for jihadists in Iraq and Syria

Preventing Violent Extremism - also known as Prevent - has been a government priority for a decade.

But despite millions of pounds, initiative after initiative, the strategy remains deeply controversial, virtually impossible to fully assess and, if its critics are right, fatally compromised and incapable of achieving its goals.

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Analysis: Deradicalising Brits in Syria

21 August 2014
A British fighter in Syria:
A British fighter in Syria - identified by security researchers ISCR

The British fighter stands by some graffiti on a foreign battle-field.

"This Khilafah will have NO Borders... ONLY FRONTS."

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Domestic abuse crime considered by ministers

20 August 2014
Abused woman
A new offence could end ambiguity over the criminal definition of abuse, ministers say

A new crime of domestic abuse could be created under plans being considered by ministers.

Home Secretary Theresa May is consulting on creating the offence in England and Wales as part of attempts to improve police performance.

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Home Office ordered to pay £224m to e-Borders firm

18 August 2014

The Home Office has been told to pay £224m to a major US corporation it sacked for failing to deliver a controversial secure borders programme.

Ministers will pay Raytheon £50m in damages, plus other costs.

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Votes for prisoners: The zombie case that won't die

12 August 2014

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled - yet again - that the UK has again breached prisoners' rights by failing to give them the vote. It's another in a long line of defeats for ministers stretching back over 10 years.

Man looking out of prison
That ballot box over there? Just out of reach

As legal battles go, the spat with Strasbourg over which criminals get to stick a cross on a ballot paper has now outlasted the almighty row over whether it's appropriate for the UK to deport terrorism suspects to regimes that have a habit of torturing people.

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How many times did court doors close?

One for spy thriller fans and conspiracy theorists: in the last year, the government has asked judges five times to let it give secret evidence to defend itself in otherwise open court cases.

The figure comes from the government's first annual report on the number of times it has sought to use controversial new powers to close court doors on grounds of national security.

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Babar Ahmad: The godfather of internet jihad?

Babar Ahmad, 2012

This week has seen the jailing of a man the Americans consider to be one of the most dangerous facilitators of terrorism in the West. But he is likely to be free in less than a year. He was a pioneer when it came to using the web as a tool of jihadist propaganda. So why do thousands of people think that Babar Ahmad is a victim of an injustice?

If you wanted to find the face - and voice - of Generation Jihad, it would be Babar Ahmad.

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Hacking probes: What happens next?

Andy Coulson leaving the Old Bailey
Convicted: Andy Coulson

What happens now? The conviction of Andy Coulson - and acquittal of Rebekah Brooks and others - is by no means the end of the road for the investigations into criminality - actual or alleged - inside newspapers.

Although The Sun has declared, in a smart, punning headline, that Rebekah Brooks' acquittal was a "great day for red tops", the full picture is rather more complex.

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About Dominic

Dominic began his career in local newspapers after studying languages at university.

Since joining the BBC in 1998 he has focused on stories relating to law, order, society and belonging - including immigration, ethnicity, the rule of law and terrorism.

He has spent most of his BBC career working online and was one of the pioneers of live online reporting for the BBC, filing stories from the field in the days when mobile phones looked like bricks and we had no idea when the data would reach the news editor.

He is married with two children. His unspellable surname is Italian.

When not undertaking family or work duties, you'll find him cycling up and down hills dreaming of Tour de France greatness.

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