UK police chief urges review of terror trial procedures, detention period

UK police chief urges review of terror trial procedures, detention period

[JURIST] London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair [official website; BBC profile], the United Kingdom's most senior police officer, told a German security summit Saturday that changes to Britain's terror trial laws were necessary to speed up cases and increase public transparency. Blair said the current ban on publicizing case details that could prejudice other cases reduced the public legitimacy of the criminal court system.

Blair also suggested that provisions of the Terrorism Act 2006 [PDF text, Home Office backgrounder] authorizing up to 28 days detention of suspects without trial – already the longest allowed in any western European country – need to be extended in the near future to improve Britain's counterterror efforts. The original draft [text] of the act, advanced by Prime Minister Tony Blair [JURIST report] on Sir Ian Blair's advice, would have authorized detention of terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days. The Police Commissioner's latest comments followed an uncharacteristically public speech [text] last week by MI-5 Director General Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller's [official website; BBC profile] warning of multiple terrorist threats to the United Kingdom. BBC News has more.