This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life, the Universe and...

There are various degrees of belief in the 42 day detention of terrorists.

Chief Constables appear in favour of 90 days' detention without charge.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith campaigned for the 42 days which was passed in Parliament last week. But now it's been passed, she will probably back-date it to 30.

The Tories are against it. But only because Gordon Brown wants it.

John Major thinks it will make things worse.

And David Davis is so upset by it he's resigned.

I wonder, after all of this palaver, how many terrorists will actually be detained for the full 42 days before charge. Let's not forget that it has to be extended periodically by a magistrate up to this period, the police cannot just throw away the key. I have never worked on a terrorism investigation, but I somehow suspect a lot of the evidence is gathered before an arrest is ever made, and that the police have a fairly good idea where they plan to look once the offender is in custody. At this stage, either the evidence is found or not, and if not, I imagine it could take far longer than 42 days to find it. Let's not forget the instances where police have been wrong - perhaps it was all for the best in those cases that they had some pressure to prove or disprove their case quickly.

There are countries in the world where you can detain terrorism suspects indefinitely with no legal advice, no evidence, and no charges ever being laid. I am not sure I want to live in one of those countries.

The great answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is not 42.

'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in all good bookstores and online.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why bother with 42 days...
Even when they are thoroughly odious people wanted by another country on terrorist charges we release them on bail....

Get your chequebook out taxpayer..

Since Qatada claimed asylum in 1993, he and his family have already cost the taxpayer well over £1million and the bill will now rise dramatically.
Legal aid for his initial battle to remain came to about £20,000.
Between 1993 and 2002, he and his expanding family are said to have received £1,000 a month in state handouts. Total £108,000.
Since he was locked up six years ago, the Muslim cleric's wife and five children have continued to receive an estimated £800 a month. Total £60,000

18 June, 2008 22:15

Blogger Jennie said...

America makes do with two days. I reckon about a week is the topside...

18 June, 2008 22:32

Anonymous Anonymous said...

42 days - makes sense..

... it's about the length of time it takes police to appear in response to being called.

19 June, 2008 01:31

Blogger staghounds said...

There are countries where those suspected of not contributing to the Party can be sent to eternity, for that matter.

I figure that if I can't show enough probable cause to charge, then there isn't enough reason to arrest in the first place.

19 June, 2008 02:21

Blogger uncommon said...


Lol..42, after all these years.

brendan (retired and run away to Atlanta)

19 June, 2008 02:35

Anonymous Dr Melvin T Gray said...

You stated a doubtful preference, PC Bloggs, for living in a Country where indefinite detention can be arranged for a suspect. Try to look on the bright side with some admiration for the sincerity expressed by such Regimes. Attempts by democracies to achieve that result piecemeal, are surely less honest. The Ultimate Question cannot be known but an important one for you and I concerns the timing of our emigration.

19 June, 2008 07:50

Blogger uniform said...

odd one this , MI5 not sure , SIS (6) not sure , CC'S not sure ,MP'S not sure.

DPP Sir Ken Macdonald not sure, former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, not sure, Angiolini the Lord Advocate of Scotland ,not sure.Lord Woolf former Lord Chief Justice,not sure.

Browns sure ,Jaqui Cleavage been told by Brown she's sure.

I think we have the answer:

In no way is this a political cul-de-sac , or a trial of westminster strength.

19 June, 2008 08:57

Blogger TWINING said...

In India Bloggs, there is no such thing as detaining for periods I think' People go into the police station, and are never seen to come out. Then theres the Inspector with the moustache! Great post.

19 June, 2008 09:11

Anonymous Essy said...

"I wonder, after all of this palaver, how many terrorists will actually be detained for the full 42 days before charge."

My concern is how many innocent people will be held for the full 42 days without charge ?

19 June, 2008 10:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, let me make clear my personal disgust (bordering on hatred) of Gormless Clown and the rest of the Muppet Show allegedly running this country. Their actions regarding the 42 day saga pretty much sums them all up: manipulative, lying, isolated fools.

Having said that, I do support the increase of detention without charge to 42 days. Why? The issue isn't one of the police locking up the innocent and being able to "get away with it". This doesn't happen for other offences, so why potential terrorists? The police are much more interested in finding the guilty, not framing the innocent.

The real issue is that individuals and plots have to be interdicted as early as possible, to prevent a potential atrocity from actually taking place. This can mean that a lot of evidence is still held on computers, in buildings or stashes that need to be located and thoroughly searched. Items recovered need to be forensically tested, CCTV found, searched and recorded, etc, etc. In a case involving a relatively large group of plotters, this can take time. Lots of time. And once all this evidence has been found, it then leads to further interview questioning, which in turn can lead to further searches, etc.

At present, without the ability to hold suspects for up to 42 days whilst this is all taking place, suspects can end up being charged with lesser offences or no charges at all.

19 June, 2008 11:56

Blogger Metcountymounty said...

anon 1156, the interdiction actually takes place as LATE as possible in order to gather the best evidence and to ensure a conviction, hence the group nicked for the liquid bomb plot were all arrested only a couple of days before they were due to strike, same with the guys with the tonne of fertilizer etc.

That way to take a sack of evidence before a jury such as the explosives, the plan, the suicide notes/tapes looks considerably more convincing to them than a tape recording of a bunch of guys sitting around a table discussing how much they would really like to blow some planes up. Both are conspiracy to commit terrorism and murder, but one is much easier to prove after you've let them dig themselves a hole.

The key issue with the 42 days (so I've heard from friends in special branch) is that a lot of the evidence gathered from computers is highly encrypted and is the equivalent of millions of A4 pages, each page having to be broken and read individually, then assessed for intel, and then assessed again at the end of the investigation once all available evidence has been gathered, and that's what takes the time, and we can't question suspects after charge so the only way is to extend the detention time to allow for the depth of the investigation. Personally, I would be happier with allowing questioning after charge but then you run the risk of charging on the slimmest of evidence with the hope of finding more later on.

19 June, 2008 14:36

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be honest, I dont care.

19 June, 2008 19:15

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Metcounty - it's a relief to hear hat the code breakers and Mathematicians have seen fit to consult with you and solicit your advice in refining their decryption algorithms.

However - the whole point of your thesis is that it is justified for the State to hold a person without charge for SEVEN WEEKS?

You cannot be serious.

19 June, 2008 21:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jennie, tell that to the orange denim clads in Cuba. How I smiled at Harriet Harperson sitting next to Gordon giving his speech in the commons on this subject, nodding her head like the dog in the back of my car, remember her previous post in civil liberties, and they say a leopard never changes its spots.

19 June, 2008 21:55

Blogger Jennie said...

Ah, Nonny Mouse, but Cuba isn't IN America, as they are so fond of telling us... But yes, I take your point.

19 June, 2008 21:59

Anonymous Oi said...

He is probably not serious about 7 weeks, but 6 seems a reasonable time frame......

19 June, 2008 22:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oi "oi" I wanted to see if HE spotted that ;))

19 June, 2008 23:05

Blogger uniform said...

Anon @ 23:05, and having won this pyrrhic, mathematical victory based on times tables, what would you have done with it?

This tiresome “look at the stupid Police person " routine so redolent of virtually every film/TV scene in which the supposedly rich/educated suspect plays with the dumb cop is fine if your in equity.

But for casual day to day stuff it all looks like you just have personal inadequacies.

Get yourself on Big Brother; their always looking for social misfits.

20 June, 2008 11:05

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...Get yourself on Big Brother; their always looking for social misfits..."

Uniform, you're quite right. We cannot have stereotypes of dumb cops who don't even know the difference between "their" and "they're"

Can we?

20 June, 2008 20:58

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