Azara Blog: Blair the cop supports Blair the politician

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Date published: 2005/11/08

The BBC says:

The UK's most senior police chief said there was "chilling" evidence of new terrorist plots as he urged support for new powers to detain terror suspects.

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair said police should be able to hold suspects without charge for 90 days.

His warning came as the government said it was increasingly confident it would win an MPs' vote on the new time limit.

But the Tories, Lib Dems and some Labour MPs say 28 days' detention is the maximum they will accept.

Government officials admit the numbers ahead of the vote onn Wednesday are very tight.

The proposal to extend the detention time limit from 14 to 90 days originally came from the police and Sir Ian used a lunch with political journalists in the House of Commons to reinforce their case.

He said the police were "not in an auction" over the plan but believed 90 days was the right length of time needed because of the complexity and mass of evidence in terrorism cases.

Sir Ian said the current situation was unknown in peacetime and there were "people out there plotting mass atrocities without warning".

He said he had thought hard about whether the police had entered a political debate.

But he said: "This is not in my view politics. This is our professional opinion."

Critics of the plan say it would effectively bring back internment. They are not reassured by promises that senior judges would supervise the process.

Last week, Home Secretary Charles Clarke promised to hold talks on the issue when the 90-day proposal faced a possible Commons defeat.

But ministers are now sticking by their original plan, although they also have a "fall back" position of 60 days.

Unfortunately Ian Blair has as little credibility as Tony Blair. And it's not too surprising when the police express an interest in furthering moves towards a police state. If the government manages to get 90 days and there is another terrorist incident, will the two Blairs take personal responsibility and resign. Of course not, they will just up the ante to 180 days and introduce all sorts of other draconian measures. Will people who are detained for 90 (or even 60 or 28) days without conviction get compensated in any way? Will people who gave false evidence against these alleged terrorists be charged with any criminal offence? With the two Blairs you can forget about good cop, bad cop, we just have bad cop, bad dictator.

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