Government plans new laws to confiscate passports of potential terrorists and stop them travelling to and from Britain

Police say as many as 250 people could have returned to Britain from Iraq and Syria

New moves to stop terror suspects travelling in and out of the country are planned amid fears that extremists are returning from Iraq and Syria intent on carrying out atrocities in Britain.

David Cameron announced plans for new legislation to make it easier to confiscate the passports of young men sympathetic to the Islamic State’s hardline ideology.

Twenty-three passports have been seized under legislation introduced last year, but the Government has been warned by the security services that the powers do not go far enough.

More than 500 people are believed to have travelled to Syria to join the IS forces which have swept across northern Iraq. Police chiefs believe as many as 250 could already have returned, most of them to London.

Mr Cameron said the Government had acted to counter the threat from returning jihadists, but said it had become clear there will still “gaps in our armoury”.

 

He said: "We need to do more to stop people travelling, to stop those who do go from returning, and to deal decisively with those who are already here.”

He will set out details of the planned legislation in a statement to Parliament on Monday.

Ministers are also under pressure to bolster their terrorism investigation and prevention measures (Tpims) regime under which suspects who cannot be brought to court are tracked.

At a summit on Saturday in Brussels, the Prime Minister will urge European Union leaders to take fresh action to monitor jihadists. He is pressing for the introduction of a directive enabling police and security services across member state to share passenger records.

National leaders have backed the moves, but they have run into opposition in the European Parliament over fears of the impact on privacy.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Cameron warned that the murder of American journalist James Foley, apparently by a man with a British accent, was evidence that the IS advance was not a far-off problem that could be ignored in this country.

He said: “The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the UK.”

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