Draconian Measures

As reluctant as I am to link to this particular news portal, Daily Mail:

The Government has established a shadowy new national anti-terrorist unit to protect VIPs, with the power to detain suspects indefinitely using mental health laws.

The revelation is set to reignite the row over the Government’s use of draconian measures to deal with terror suspects amid accusations they are abusing human rights.

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) was quietly set up last year to identify individuals who pose a direct threat to VIPs including the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Royal Family.

It was given sweeping powers to check more than 10,000 suspects’ files to identify mentally unstable potential killers and stalkers with a fixation against public figures.

The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.

In conjunction with the ‘more powers for police’ story, the idea that doctors can be used to detain people (the story goes on to suggest they already have been used to detain terror suspects) certainly sets alarm bells ringing. The police already have powers to do pretty much anything they want, I can’t see what the clamouring for new powers does, except reinforce their ability to use the ones they already have.

Thanks to John for the link.

7 Responses to “Draconian Measures”

  • Thedood Says:

    I hope this isn’t the beginning of a disturbing new trend.

  • Lee Says:

    New trend?

    It’s actually an old story, and we already know the outcome. Look at Cold War Europe. This time of course, the ‘threat’ is infinite. And the victims will be the last people to learn the lessons of that dark time. This time, the overlords will peel away our liberties gently and quietly, in the dead of night. And the rest we will volunteer in the name of security, justified by some abtract fear of the unkknown and enabled by our own helplessness.

    Interesting times, ahead.

  • Thedood Says:

    I meant specifically the use of the Mental Health Act as the dominant piece of legislature used to combat politicals.

    But I do agree with what you wrote wholeheartedly.

  • Grill Says:

    Bloody hell. So first Thatcher puts all of the really mad people into “Care in the Community” (that is, on the streets), now all the derelict MRSA-ridden hospital wards will be filled with dissidents. That’s totalitarianilly ace.

  • Rossignol Says:

    You don’t have to be mad to be unfairly imprisoned by the British government, but it helps!

  • Lee Says:

    I want that on a t-shirt.

  • Ake Says:

    If you look at the Observer article which followed this Mail piece, it is evident that the Mail got the whole thing completely wrong. There are no new powers and the ew unit has nothing to do with terrorists. It doesn’t even detain people. It just tries to get the really carzy looked after by their GPs and psychiatrists when people are letting them rot amindst teh torture of their persecutory delusions