The government wants to increase the maximum period of time security suspects can be detained by police without charge to 42 days, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Thursday.
"We are proposing that where there is a compelling operational need, the Home Secretary can extend the operational limit that a terrorist can be held for up to a maximum of 42 days," Smith told reporters.
It is the first time the government has put forward a specific figure, after Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the custody time should be increased, but it is likely to face serious scrutiny.
The length of time security suspects can be held without charge is a controversial subject, with opposition parties, some within the ruling Labour Party, and civil liberties groups fiercely against any increase.
On police advice, Brown's predecessor Tony Blair proposed increasing the period to 90 days to give detectives more time to probe increasingly complex alleged networks and technology for evidence.
Blair suffered his first defeat in a parliamentary vote when the proposal was put before the lower House of Commons in November 2005. An alternative of 28 days -- still double the previous figure -- was passed.
Smith said: "To emphasise that the higher limit is exceptional, it must be approved by Parliament within 30 days."
The new limit would only be available to police for two months without being renewed.
But if approved, in practice it means a security suspect could be held for 42 days, even if parliament eventually rejects the Home Office's application.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Aralık 2007, 16:42