Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Clash of Civilizations: London Leering At Your Laptop...

here they come...

surf's up...

for now...


The Guardian

Police ask for tough new powers

PM told of need for three-month detention of suspects and crackdown on websites

Alan Travis and Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday July 22, 2005

Police last night told Tony Blair that they need sweeping new powers to counter the terrorist threat, including the right to detain a suspect for up to three months without charge instead of the current 14 days.

Senior officers also want powers to attack and close down websites, and a new criminal offence of using the internet to prepare acts of terrorism, to "suppress inappropriate internet usage".

They also want to make it a criminal offence for suspects to refuse to cooperate in giving the police full access to computer files by refusing to disclose their encryption keys.

The police would also like to see much clearer information given to the public about the threat level, the creation of a specialist border security agency and further discussions about the use of phonetap evidence in terrorist cases.

The Association of Chief Police Officers published its list of 11 further changes in the law it wants after meeting Mr Blair and security services chiefs yesterday.

MI5 and MI6 wanted yesterday's meeting to discuss Britain's entire counter-terrorism strategy and how to fill the intelligence gaps exposed by the London bombings.

Whitehall officials confirmed that, as reported in yesterday's Guardian, the security and intelligence agencies want a new system of plea bargaining. Convicted terrorists would be given lighter sentences if they supplied information before their trials.

Suspects would be given the chance to provide information in "intelligence-only" interviews and none of the information would be used against them in trials.

Officials also said MI5 was "in principle" in favour of the product of phone taps being used as evidence in trials. What has not been resolved is who would pay for the resources needed to transcribe the tapes in a way that would satisfy defence lawyers, according to counter-terrorism sources.

The prime minister has said he is willing to consider any "gaps in the law" that police and security chiefs identify as a result of the London attacks.

Ken Jones, the chairman of Acpo's terrorism committee and Sussex chief constable, said: "The evolving nature of the current threat from international terrorism demands that those charged with countering the threat have the tools they need to do the job.

"Often there is a need to intervene and disrupt at an early stage those who are intent on terrorist activity, in order to protect the public. Clearly our legislation must reflect the importance of such disruptive action."

The most controversial of the police proposals is the demand to be able to hold without charge a terrorist suspect for three months instead of 14 days. An Acpo spokesman said the complexity and scale of counter-terrorist operations means the 14-day maximum is often insufficient.

"The complexities and timescales surrounding forensic examination of [crime] scenes merely add to the burden and immense time pressures on investigating officers," he said. Three-month periods would help to ensure the charge could be sustained in court.

[Ed note: then how come they always seem to catch suspects on the same day?]

Other powers police told Mr Blair they needed include:

· Terror suspects to give compulsory answers to questions similar to obligations on company directors in fraud trials;

· A duty on the private sector to install protective security in designated locations;

· Putting private security staff at the disposal of the police in the immediate aftermath of an outrage;

· New generation CCTV cameras at ports and airports.

The police sought extra funding for a regional network of Special Branch officers and a further £45m to ensure national coverage for the new generation CCTV cameras, which scan number plates and alert intercept teams.

"The terrorist attacks in London on July 7 and today provide an opportunity for us to reflect on our systems and practices to ensure they are sufficient to counter such unprecedented events," Mr Jones said.

SOURCE -,16132,1533917,00.html


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:22 AM  

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