» Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Belmarsh Detainees

Asked why it was now safe to release people who had been in prison for 3 years, the PMOS said that what was important to recognise that to some extent the debate over control orders had been dominated by one measure. What had been missed was that the new legislation proposed a range of measures. If you went through the range of measures there were many ways in which the authorities could restrict the activities of an individual, by doing that the authorities could monitor the activities of someone in a way which was impossible under the previous legislation. Therefore since we had that range of measures, the police believed this was a much better way to control activities which caused concern. That was why, for instance, the Chairman of ACPO’s terrorism and allied matters committee, the Chief Constable of Sussex had said that he fully supported the Government’s measures. He had said on the 22 February that the Police welcomed what the Government had proposed and strongly supported the announcements made by the Home Secretary. The constantly evolving nature of the threat posed by international terrorism demanded that those charged with countering that threat had the tools to do the job. The new legislation gave the police the different control orders they needed to do the job. Asked if the Government might derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights to keep the terror suspects in Belmarsh, the PMOS said that the House of Lords ruling meant that we had to respond. Asked why no one had come up with these ideas in the 3 years leading up to the verdict by the Law Lords, the PMOS said that the circumstances had evolved since 9/11 and when these people had been detained. So had the thinking about this problem. As the Chairman of the terrorism committee in ACPO had said, the circumstances were constantly evolving.

Asked why the Home Secretary was confident of getting his legislation through on time, the PMOS said he believed that when people actually listened to the merits of the case and looked at what was proposed, and looked at the need to counter the terrorist threat then people would recognise that this legislation which would only apply at the extreme end to a few individuals was necessary. Asked by the Guardian correspondent if the Belmarsh detainees were expected to attend the Royal Wedding, the PMOS noted that he was in good form today.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. I don’t really care about the controls over the ‘known’ alleged terrorists.
    What I have difficulty with is TB saying we will be safer because of measures that cannot be effective until we know who we are dealing with.
    The whole point of successful terrorism is to remain undetected.

    or am I missing something?

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 23 Feb 2005 on 5:48 pm | Link

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