Clegg condemns police calls for indefinite detention of terror suspects

by Stephen Tall on July 16, 2007

The call by Ken Jones, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), for the police to be given the powers to hold terror suspects indefinitely without charge has been condemned by Lib Dem shadow home secretary, Nick Clegg.

In a round of media interviews, Mr Jones has stated: “We are arguing for judicially supervised detention for as long as it takes. 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.”

Nick Clegg has branded the call, “bizarre”, noting that, “A vague reference to improved judicial oversight is a red herring if it merely acts as camouflage for internment by another name.”

He was backed up by fellow Lib Dem MP, Dr Evan Harris: “The police have not provided evidence from their experience of recent investigations that the current 28-day limit – already one of the longest for a democracy – is not sufficient to collect evidence to bring charges.”

A bid two years ago by Tony Blair to increase the detention limit to 90 days resulted in a humiliating defeat for Labour in the House of Commons.