“We hope that it won’t be necessary..”

In the Belfast Telegraph Chris Thornton quotes Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch on the “definite irony” of the end of Operation Banner co-inciding with the extension of powers to the Army, with similar powers to the police, “to stop and question anyone about their movements – and hold them indefinitely until they answer.” Those moves come via a NI Order in Council, specifically the Police and Criminal Evidence (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007, which also extends powers granted to police in several previous Acts from covering “serious arrestable” offences to cover “indictable” offences.

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  • The Guardian story today on the end of Operation banner includes:

    The armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth said: “August 1 marks the beginning of a new era for the UK armed forces in Northern Ireland when, as with other parts of the country, the military will become very much part of the community.”

    Is this what he meant?!

  • Pete Baker

    Jenny

    This will be what he meant.

  • oldruss

    This is my first post, but I’ve been following politics in Ireland, both north and south, for some 10 years now.

    The story from The Belfast Telegraph, 31 July, 2007, regarding the new special powers for the British Army remaining stationed in the north, which are apparently also applicable to the PSNI, did catch my attention for several reasons.

    First and foremost is the power granted to the British Army and to the PSNI, “to stop and question anyone about their movements – and hold them indefinitely until they answer.” The Belfast Telegraph, 31 July, 2007.

    For a Yank who is steeped in Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, and also familiar with “Terry stops” here in the States, these powers being granted to the British Army and to the PSNI seem both sweeping and draconian.

    If that article accurately states the actual powers of the British Army and the PSNI, then the policy of Internment does not seem so far distant. Do the people of the north of Ireland not have the right to bring a writ of Habeas Corpus? Or, is that right rendered meaningless, given the powers granted to the British Army and the PSNI to detain anyone indefinately?

  • k

    Coincidentally, the telegraph’s editorial today described bloody sunday as ‘unjustified retaliation’ and described the civilians murdered by on and off duty soldiers as victims of ‘infrequent targeted operations against the would-be killers’.
    I know unionists find it hard to criticise the british army but this is unbelievable.