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Volume 697: debated on Monday 17 December 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 6 December, what organisation and individuals were consulted on the proposed pre-charge detention aspects of the Counter-Terrorism Bill; and when those consultations were held.[HL861]

This information was published on 6 December in the summary of consultation responses (Command Paper 7269). This information can be found on the Stationery Office website and the Home Office security website (

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will investigate whether the greater use of the threshold test, rather than the full code, in charging terrorist suspects can include greater use of administrative detention for short periods at home, rather than in prisons or police stations. [HL885]

The threshold test is already fully used in terrorist investigations. It is the test used by the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether or not to charge a suspect pending receipt of sufficient evidence to allow the full Code for Crown Prosecutors test to be applied. The test is not relevant to any decisions taken by a judge as to whether or not a defendant is held in custody either before or after charge.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will guarantee that any changes in the anti-terrorism pre-charge detention procedures will exclude the concept of anticipatory or precautionary justification devoid of evidential support. [HL886]

While an arrest may have a preventive or disruptive effect on a terrorist or network of terrorists, and while this may be the impetus for executing arrests at any point during an investigation, legislation does not allow continued detention on this basis. Once a person has been arrested, their continued detention can only be authorised on the grounds that it is necessary to obtain, examine or analyse evidence or information with the aim of obtaining evidence.

The purpose of the extended detention time is to secure sufficient admissible evidence for use in criminal proceedings. We have no plans to change this.