This is getting horribly like one of those horror movies where they think they’ve killed the monster but it keeps on getting up again. A day after the arrests in Birmingham, we read in today’s Telegraph that
Nine terror suspects remained in custody today as John Reid announced he is to try again to extend the maximum period of time suspects can be detained without charge.Mr Reid told a Cabinet meeting this morning that he would seek cross-party consensus to increase the 28-day deadline.
He said senior police officers thought it was “right and proper” for the Government to re-address the issue, following a failed attempt to introduce 90-day detention in 2005 when the Government was defeated in a Commons vote.
Mr Reid told the Cabinet that since changes extending the maximum detention period from 14 to 28 days were introduced there had not yet been a case in which a longer period of questioning was required.
But he said detectives investigating last year’s alleged plot to carry out terror attacks on airliners had required the full four weeks to complete their investigations and there were fears that future cases may need longer still.
Maybe it’s a sort of automatic reaction as this hopelessly compromised administration shambles onwards to Tony’s final departure, be it in the back of a government limo or a police van. Home Office crisis, more on the cash for honours front, suddenly… major terrorist alert and, hey presto, John Reid dusts off his proposals to lock people up for the equivalent of a 6-months sentence on suspicion.
It’s now becoming ludicrous; the police haven’t actually found they needed more than 28 days as yet, but they might do, so let’s give them three months, just in case.
The only heartening thing about this is Downing Street’s somewhat luke-warm response:
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “”Precise options will be developed after further discussions with colleagues.
The Home Secretary is mindful of the need to consider cross-party consensus.”
which, since obviously they won’t get it, I hope means that they’ve just said, ‘Very nice, John; now, why don’t you go away and work it up in plenty of detail? Do, please, take your time over it…’. John Reid will bluster a bit about the opposition being willing, in order to score political points, to allow the terrorists to murder us in our beds, but I suspect this time round even the Dear Leader will have the sense not to bash on too much about the importance of not hindering police investigations.
Come to think of it, maybe I’ve got the wrong horror genre; possibly I’m thinking of that bit in Dawn of the Dead (the original one, at least — I’ve not seen the remake) where they’re discussing why the mindless (but still dangerous) zombies keep on trying to get into the shopping mall where the survivors are holed up;
Francine Parker: What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Stephen: Some kind of instinct. Memory, of what they used to do.
The worrying thing is, of course, that eventually the zombies do break in…
Oh, and those of you who are insufficiently familiar with their Bibles can go and look up my title yourselves.