Azara Blog: Some people believe that arrests at 6.30 AM are jolly good

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Date published: 2007/01/20

The BBC says:

Police have warned senior Labour figures to stop putting "undue pressure" on officers investigating "cash-for-honours" claims.

Several senior Labour MPs have called the arrest on Friday of Number 10 aide Ruth Turner, who denies any wrongdoing, unnecessary and "theatrical".

But the Metropolitan Police Federation said this was not an "appropriate moment" to make such comments.

The Liberal Democrats said police were acting professionally and normally.

Ms Turner was questioned on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and was later released.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said she was "slightly bewildered" as to why the arrest had happened early in the morning, with four policemen knocking on Ms Turner's door - who was then released without charge.

"She has fully cooperated and she is a person of utter decency and conscientiousness and I am surprised," she said.
Len Duvall, the Labour politician who chairs the Metropolitan Police Authority, called on others not to try to "manipulate or pressurise" officers.

In a statement, he told critics that "no one in this country is above the law".

Liberal Democrat spokesman Lord Thomas of Gresford said: "Once the police had formed a reasonable suspicion of her perverting the course of justice, as they must have, it was their duty to act swiftly and professionally to preserve any evidence.

"That is commonplace, as any criminal lawyer knows.

If the police thought that there was an imminent threat of harm to the public, or an imminent threat to evidence, or an immenent threat that Kelly would leave the country, then yes, they would have had some reason to knock on her door at 6.30 AM (with four police, it beggers belief). Did some compelling reason for the arrest only come up at 5.30 AM? As it is, this is much more likely to be a typical case where the police are up to no good. That fact that the police behave like this towards lots of people, and not just Turner, is hardly comforting or a justification. Britain, for now, is not a police state, and unfortunately their behaviour in this case (and others) would indicate that the police sometimes think otherwise. And for the Lib Dems to defend the police here is unbelievable. The Lib Dems are more and more becoming the Illiberal Democrats. Who needs them when you have the Tories and New Labour doing the same.

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