HUMAN rights groups yesterday condemned a call from UK police chiefs for indefinite detention without charge or trial.
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) president Ken Jones, who has been supported by Met Police chief Ian Blair, claimed that police needed to be able to hold terrorist suspects without charge ‘for as long as it takes’ to complete an investigation.
This has already been discussed in meetings between prime minister Brown and a number of police chiefs.
Brown is said to be sympathetic to ACPO’s demands but wants to set an upper limit, lest he be accused of bringing Guantanamo Bay to the UK.
Liberty director Sami Chakrabarti said: ‘We elect politicians to determine legislation.
‘We expect chief constables to uphold the rule of law, not campaign for internment.’
An Amnesty International spokesperson told News Line: ‘The ACPO head’s call is alarming.
‘The right to be properly charged is the dividing line between liberty and arbitrary detention.
‘Indefinite detention as proposed violates the right to liberty and the right to be presumed innocent.
‘It is also questionable whether this proposal will lead to more convictions, because the longer a person is held in police custody, the less likely the courts are to presume any statement has been made voluntarily.’
ACPO chief Jones tried to claim later yesterday, ‘ACPO isn’t campaigning for internment or any Guantanamo-type solution to the United Kingdom.’
He added that, ‘We need to have a debate around the different checks and balances around the process of pre-charge detention.’
Jones claimed he believed ‘Parliament should be the final arbiter’.
He further claimed that, ‘I did not argue for indefinite detention’ but he admitted that earlier, ‘I did say as long as it takes, providing that’s proportionate and necessary and that would be certified by a judge.’