Brown outlines police state proposals

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Prime Minister Brown yesterday announced his ‘four options’ for extending the period that police can hold ‘terror suspects’ without charging them.

He is ‘considering’ extending the present limit on holding suspects without charge from 28 days to 56 days as well as allowing phone-tap evidence if parliament will agree to it.

In a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, he said: ‘One proposal we cite in the consultation document from Liberty. . . is that if the risk materialises we should declare an emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act and allow for a period beyond the 28 day limit, for up to a further 30 days.

‘But this would require the declaration of a state of emergency.

‘We are also proposing for consultation, and this would not require a state of emergency, an extension of the current limit for up to 28 days more or a lesser period.

‘But only if, in addition to the requirement that a judge must approve every single seven day extension, the case is itself notified to Parliament and subject to a timely report to Parliament of all circumstances, with the option of a later parliamentary debate.

‘This means that any extension would not only be subject to a specific case being made by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

‘It would be subject every seven days up to the agreed limit to the approval of a High Court judge.

‘It would be subject to the regular report of the independent reviewer with an annual debate in Parliament.

‘It would also be subject in each and every instance to a specific parliamentary notification procedure, to a further statement to Parliament on the individual case, a review on the specific case by the independent reviewer and with the provision for this House to scrutinise and debate the report and all the circumstances.’

He added: ‘Over the next three years we will provide an additional £70 million to support local authorities and community groups in improving the capacity of local communities to resist violent extremism.’

He said: ‘And following further discussion the government will report back to Parliament on further measures that will isolate extremists who preach and practice terrorism.’

• Second news story

POLICE WARN AGAINST LOOTERS

The Police and Army were yesterday mobilised to control crowds at supermarkets in Gloucestershire yesterday as tens of thousands of people queued for bottled water.

Gloucestershire Police chief constable Dr Tim Brain said he was considering asking other forces for help.

Police warned: ‘Cheltenham racecourse and police headquarters in Quedgeley are not bottle distribution centres.

‘Members of the public going to these locations for bottled water will be turned away and directed to the nearest distribution point.’

A police spokeswoman told a midday press conference: ‘We have had reports of people behaving selfishly in terms of emptying the bowsers.

‘We have had confirmed reports of people seeking to re-sell the water and that’s being treated as theft.’

Police said there would be no exceptions made for misbehaviour.

Meanwhile, fears are growing of an impending health problem in flooded areas because of the lack of clean water.

Water officials have pledged to change the way they take supplies to residents cut off by floods.

People without water in Gloucestershire have complained scores of street bowsers provided by Severn Trent Water were running dry.

The company was forced to pledge it will refill bowsers up to five times a day and give out four million litres of bottled water for distribution by the Army.

Meanwhile, work continued to pump out flood water from a treatment works in Gloucestershire which has left 350,000 people without fresh water.

It is believed it could be two weeks before the centre is operational again.