Control Order Lite

The BBC have this story on their website about the Government's new Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (aka T-PIMS, which just sounds like a mobile phone company to me).

I don't have any immediate comment about these orders aside from the observation that there doesn't seem to be very much difference between these and the Control Orders that they replace.  It does strike me that if these people are seriously dangerous and the authorities know it then there must be a better system for dealing with them, such as bringing them to trial.  Maybe you think that is naive of me and that the Security Services must protect the sources of their information.  You may be right; I don't know.  I do know that the police manage to operate a large and highly secretive (unless you go to my basement where you'll find the informant handling manual!) intelligence system that utilises data from a wide range of sources from super grasses to rumors heard on the street.  If you ever find yourself involved in a large scale gang fight that results in a murder you will quickly see the scope of this intelligence network as officers effortlessly produce information about who knows who in a given area, where people were seen together, what nicknames (or streetnames if you prefer) people are known by.  If you hear on the news of a big incident and then that 25 people have been arrested shortly after then you are probably seeing the result of this huge intelligence database.

My point is that the police manage to handle all this information without revealling their sources, in fact I once saw a DI told by a judge that he had to answer a question from Counsel about the informant handling system, the DI looked at the judge and said, "No".  So, if the police can do it, why can't the Secret Intelligence Serivce & Co.?

Another point occurs to me: if the people on control orders really are as dangerous as the Government says then why aren't the Government keen to find someway to lock them up in a prison that won't be criticised as breaching the Human Rights Act, e.g. by holding trials?  While I never trust any politician, I do believe that they must believe these people are very dangerous otherwise I'd have thought the new lot would have accused the last lot of being scaremongering fools.

For me at least, this debate really is a catch-22.  I don't have enough information to come to a proper conclusion so I'm forced to rely upon the advice and decisions of those who do have the information; however, I don't trust the people making the decisions as they refuse to reveal any detail about why they have reached their decisions.


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