Police Detention in the UK and in the Netherlands
ALAN DAVENPORT AND PETER BAAUW
The United Kingdom has two different sets of procedural rules for detention, those applicable to suspects arrested under the Police and Criminal Evidence 1984 (hereafter PACE) and those pertaining to people detained under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (hereafter PTA). This second statute, being specifically concerned with anti- terrorist measures, has no direct parallel in the Netherlands and is the successor of legislation which came about because of events some twenty years ago.
An earlier Prevention of Terrorism Act was brought into force in 1974 in an attempt to combat the activities of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which at the time was conducting a campaign of bombings on the British mainland. On 21 November 1974, bombs went off in Birmingham, resulting in the loss of twenty-one lives and injuries to 162 people.1 The PTA 1974 was introduced into Parliament on 25 November and became law on 29 November, a remarkably swift passage through the legislature. The Act extended police powers in a number of areas and the then Home Secretary conceded that the measures contained therein were '. . . unprecedented in peacetime', but nevertheless '. . . fully justified' given the circumstances at the time.2 The legislation was to remain in force for a period of six months3 as it was intended to be a short-term emergency law, the existence of which would, it was hoped, cease to be necessary within a very short period of time.4 The need for the very existence of the anti-terrorist legislation has consistently been questioned5 but it has survived, subject to____________________