Blair backs tougher detention rules in fight against terror
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Blair backs tougher detention rules in fight against terror

AFP | July 27, 2005

Prime Minister Tony Blair said he supported giving police expanded powers of detention under proposed changes to anti-terrorist laws in the wake of the London bombings.

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'I think it's perfectly reasonable for us in circumstances of great difficulty to have a greater detention in order that there can be the interrogation of people who are suspected of doing this,' he said during his monthly press conference.

'People rightly expect us to take the right measures to increase their security.'

Blair had earlier held a summit with opposition party leaders to discuss possible changes to anti-terror laws including police demands to hold suspects without charge for up to three months.

Senior police have called for an extension of the time terror suspects can be held from 14 days to as much as three months.

There was an 'obvious balance between the liberties of the subject and what the police need', Blair said.

'You would obviously have to have some sort of judicial oversight. We have to look at any proposal that they (police) make and they have made this proposal arising out of specific operation difficulties.'

Opposition Conservative party leader Michael Howard said after the meeting all sides of politics must 'work together', but warned that he had concerns about the increased detention.

'So far as the three-month period of detention which the police have asked for, we see very considerable difficulties in that,' he said.

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