Magazine article Public Finance

Anti-Terror Measures 'Need 56-Day' Detention Period

Magazine article Public Finance

Anti-Terror Measures 'Need 56-Day' Detention Period

Article excerpt

The Home Office has renewed its call for the pre-charge detention period for arrested suspects to be extended as part of a future counter-terrorism Bill.

The government's last attempt to extend the current 28 days to 90 days was defeated in the Commons in 2005 but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, speaking to the home affairs select committee on July 24, said the compromise extension from 14 to 28 days was being stretched to its limit.

'By definition there [hasn't been] a case up to this point where [28 days] has been exceeded. But there certainly is information that recent alleged plots are more complex... than when Parliament considered this before,' she said.

Her comments were endorsed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on July 25 in a Commons statement introducing a consultation on new counter-terrorism measures. Brown ruled out extending the pre-charge detention period to 90 days but said that a doubling to 56 should be considered.

'There is a growing weight of opinion... that there may be some circumstances in which detention beyond 28 days could be necessary,' he said.

But the Home Office consultation document published as Brown spoke also outlined other measures that could be used, either in parallel or as an alternative to an extension of the detention period. …

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