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Extending terrorists' detention to 28 days will have to be done without knowing detai
05-16-2011, 07:37 PM,
Extending terrorists' detention to 28 days will have to be done without knowing detai
Quote:Theresa May’s comments came amid concerns from prosecutors that they would have to air their cases in public while in the middle of an investigation if they ran out of time.

However Mrs May said that Parliament would simply have to make a decision about the principle of invoking the 28 days' detention without discussing individual cases.

The government has pledged to cut the limit to 14 days but wants to retain the power to reinstate the 28 day limit if they are faced with complex investigations.

Mrs May said that power would only rest with parliament, adding that giving the Home Secretary the authority to renew 28 day detention would send the wrong message that the power was freely available.

"It's right that it has proper Parliamentary scrutiny given the concerns that we have about the balance of national security and civil liberties," she said.

But she said that if parliament was not sitting, the government would have to resort to the Civil Contingencies Act, designed for national emergencies, as a “back up” power.

Giving evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Detention of Terrorist Suspects (Temporary Extension) Bills, Mrs May said it was not possible to define the "exceptional circumstances" that might trigger the powers being enforced, but added that it would probably involve "a number of major incidents that were likely to lead to considerably complex investigations taking place".

"It would certainly not be intended to create what one could describe as a mini control order through these powers," she said.

The powers to enable police to hold suspects for more than 14 days were intended to give authorities further time to investigate any suspected offences and gather evidence, not simply to keep suspects off the streets for security reasons, she said.

Mrs May went on: "It's not something that's there simply to be used in the various different types of circumstances which happen in the normal set of events.

"The more you try to define it on the face of the legislation the more is the danger of increasing the difficulties rather than reducing them."

Mrs May also insisted it was "not necessary" for the Government's terrorism watchdog David Anderson QC to review the decision in each case where police were given more than 14 days to hold suspected terrorists.
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