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Monday, February 05, 2007 

Scum-watch: Keeping enemies from our streets.

Hard to know whether this is cheerleading of the government's potential new drive towards 70/90 days, or simply a rebuff to a man who the tabloids have been building up, but either way, the Sun's not going to let John Sentamu get away with his criticism of such measures:

THE Sun admires John Sentamu, the first black Church of England Archbishop.

But his claim that holding terror suspects for 90 days without charge will make Britain a tyranny like Idi Amin’s Uganda is ludicrous.

Upping the limit from 28 days wouldn’t turn us into a police state.

It would simply give detectives enough time to amass evidence in cases often more complex than a normal criminal investigation.

Which is exactly why they were given 28 days only just more than a year ago. A "normal" criminal investigation can only be stretched out to 96 hours at most without the suspect being charged. 28 days already gives them up to 672 hours. 90 would give them 2160, or the equivalent of a six-month prison sentence. 90 day detention without charge might not turn us into a police state, but it would be a menacing reminder of the very measures which police states resort to. Besides, there has yet to be any evidence presented that anything more than 28 days is needed, or if even 28 days would be needed if the police had the proper resources available in order to crack encryption on hard drives etc. The police talk of hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of data is meant to blind people with statistics, especially when it involves burnt cds and dvds which can be checked quickly.

Britain is facing its greatest threat since the Nazis.

Oh, we've reached the point of the Nazi threat now. Previously it was back to the level of threat posed by the Soviet Union, now we're apparently once again stuck in 1940, waiting for the Nazis to invade, except this time the Wehrmacht armies are suicide bombers and the Luftwaffe are terrorists making their explosives in the toilets of planes.

In fact, this comparison is an insult. Sixty million died in WW2, over 400,000 British servicemen among them. To suggest that the Islamic extremist terrorist threat, which has so far resulted in the deaths of 52 people in this country, could conceivably achieve similar casualties is both to give too much credit to a rag-tag band of non-aligned backward fantasists and to belittle the sacrifice made on all sides by ordinary men and women to crush Nazism. (It's best not to even bring the Holocaust into the equation.)

Police should not have to race against the clock to keep enemies off our streets.

That's right. Everyone arrested under the Terrorism Act is a enemy, and the evidence only has to be found for that to be proved. The Sun could not have done more to prove Sentamu right.

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