» Monday, October 10, 2005

90-Day Detention Period

Asked about the Attorney General’s alleged concern about the legality of a 90-day detention period, the PMOS said that we did not comment on the Attorney General’s advice. The Government’s position was that this request from the police had to be considered very seriously. The idea originated after 7/7. It was at the request of the police, who because of the complexity of the evidence gathering process in such cases believed that they needed the 90-day period to detain people. 3 months would be the maximum and only used in exceptional cases. It would also be subject to regular judicial review. As such this was why we were seriously considering the matter. Clearly we wanted to move forward, if possible, on the basis of consent. However we had to recognise that the starting point was a very serious request made by the police because of the complexity of these cases. Asked if it was more important to get a consensus, the PMOS said that in terms of trying to get a consensus we were genuine about that, equally however we had to take very seriously the request of the police for this additional power, given that it would be subject to judicial oversight. The Home Secretary had made his position clear on this last week. The Met Police had published supporting evidence about why they wanted a 3-month period. This was not something we were considering for any reasons other than because the police believed it to be necessary. Asked when the Prime Minister last spoke to leaders about the search for a consensus, the PMOS pointed out that the opposition leaders had been busy with other matters in recent weeks but that the Home Secretary had remained in touch with his opposite numbers.

In response to the suggestion that in the search for a consensus that was acceptable to the police that 3 months could become 2 months, the PMOS said that he was not going to give a running commentary on those discussions. What we were determined to do was consider very very seriously the request by the police in this matter because they had specific reasons why they believed it was necessary to detain people for longer than usual. These would be for exceptional circumstances and be subject to judicial oversight. Asked if the Prime Minister believed that 3 months would be practical in actuality and not be challenged in the courts, the PMOS said in terms of the legal position they were matters that had to be considered. We also had to consider the seriousness with which the police were putting this forward.

Asked if we had agreed any further deportation orders since Jordan, the PMOS said that active discussion continued with other countries but he would not be offering a running commentary on them.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news

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