Government ready to cut terror detention limit

The Coalition government is preparing to cut the limit for terrorism suspects to be held before charge to 14 days — against the advice of senior lawyers — it can be disclosed.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is attempting to hold on to a refashioned version of control orders despite opposition from Liberal Democrats


By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent 6:20AM GMT 29 Nov 2010

It is understood the change will replace the current 28-day limit with a 14-day limit which will be accompanied by strict bail conditions for a further 14 days, similar to control orders.

However, a number of terrorism suspects have absconded under similar conditions and there are fears the measures proposed may allow al-Qaeda terrorists to escape.

One senior prosecution source told The Daily Telegraph: “We need 28 days — and not a minute longer.”

The upper limit is thought to have fallen foul of a deal, still being hammered out, under which the detention limit is lowered and the police’s anti-terrorism random stop and search powers are abandoned.

In return, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is attempting to hold on to a refashioned version of control orders despite opposition from Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister.

The Government is conducting a review of terrorism legislation introduced in the wake of the September 11 attacks but the results have been delayed as the Government examines “every option known to man” to head off a Liberal Democrat revolt, according to one source.

It is understood that Mr Clegg believes control orders — the system of curfews under which terrorism suspects are electronically tagged — should be abolished while Mrs May, who has had extensive briefings from the security services and the police, thinks they must be retained.

The row threatens to split the Coalition if Mr Clegg decides to give his backbenchers a free vote.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, outlines a compromise proposal he has put before the Government in which control orders are replaced by a “three tier” system of restrictions, with travel limits for the less serious cases.

He calls on Mr Clegg to listen to expert opinions and says: “It would be unforgivable to play politics with public safety.”

ORIGINAL POST

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~ by jonathanure on November 29, 2010.

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