The Sunday Express has this alarming report (HERE):

Police chiefs are demanding the power to lock up terror suspects indefinitely, it has emerged.

Reopening the debate over detention without trial, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) called for some suspects to be held for “as long as it takes”.

ACPO president Ken Jones said police were struggling to operate within the 28-day limit, stressing the global scale of terror investigations and the need to arrest suspects early.

“We are now arguing for judicially supervised detention for as long as it takes,” he told the Observer.

“We are up against the buffers on the 28-day limit.

“We understand people will be concerned and nervous, but we need to create a system with sufficient judicial checks and balances which holds people, but no longer than a day necessary.”

The idea is said to have been discussed with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has signalled his intention to re-visit the subject of detention without trial this year.

Mr Jones added: “The key point is that the police require an ability to undertake a professional and thorough investigation that is proportionate to the threat posed by international terrorism,” he said.

“It must also be noted that one of the suggestions we are making is that any time period granted will be managed and scrutinised by senior members of the judiciary at regular intervals.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: “We elect politicians to determine legislation and we expect chief constables to uphold the rule of law, not campaign for internment.”

One wonders upon which planet ACPO pounds the beat (or rather fills in forms detailing all sorts of target-fulfilling trivia). Have they not noticed that there is enormous political opposition, both within and without Parliament to any extension of pre-charge detention? Were they not aware of how disastrous the UK’s last attempt at Internment (in Northern Ireland in the 70s) was?

What does “as long as it takes” actually mean or entail? If the ‘suspect’ makes no admission and there is no other sufficient evidence, but the Police and Intelligence Services believe that Mohammed has been well at it, does that mean they will hang onto him regardless? And if he makes no admission, despite their knowing he is guilty, what does that mean? Out with the hand-cranked generator and the sodium pentathol?

And what does this mean for our concept of non-political Policing? If this was to carry in Parliament, the police would forever be thought of by any decent pro-British law-abiding Muslim as the enemy.

It is to be hoped that HMG will immediately put this one down. One doubts that they will: instead it will be used to justify 90-day detention (“Look how we have saved you all from the horrors of internment”).

Our government may, in theory, mean well, but we should always beware of any measure which de facto and de jure creates yet more of the apparatus of a potential police state.

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