28-day terror detention to lapse


Home Office Minister Damian Green has said the power to detain terror suspects for 28 days without charge will be allowed to lapse next week

The controversial power to detain terror suspects for 28 days without charge will be allowed to lapse next week, reverting to 14 days, the Government has announced.

Home Office Minister Damian Green said the order, which expires at midnight on Monday, will not be extended.

The findings of a full review of counter-terrorism powers will be announced by Home Secretary Theresa May next Wednesday, including long-term plans for the terror detention regime.

But answering an urgent question in the Commons, Mr Green said: “In the interim I can announce that the Government will not be seeking to extend the order allowing the maximum 28-day limit, and accordingly the current order will lapse on January 25 and the maximum limit of pre-charge detention will from that time revert to 14 days.”

There were cheers from MPs who opposed the detention regime as Mr Green made his announcement.

The order allowing the 28-day limit was extended for six months last year while the full review was carried out.

Mr Green said: “This Government is clear that the power to detain terrorist suspects for up to 28 days before they were charged or released was meant to be an exceptional power. This was always Parliament’s intention.

“But under the last government it became the norm, with the renewal of 28 days repeatedly brought before the House. This was despite the power rarely being used.

“Since July 2007 no-one has been held for longer than 14 days despite the many terrorists arrested since then. This is a testament to the efforts of our prosecutors, our police and our intelligence agencies.”

He said the Home Secretary would next week “set out the detailed considerations of the Government in determining whether the current regime of 28 days should be renewed and if not what should be put in its place”.

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