We have made no secret about our abhorrence of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Orders scheme.
It people are suspected of terrorism, they should be kept under surveillance until enough evidence can be amassed and so that they can be be arrested, charged and tried fairly.
If there is no such evidence, and these people do not have ready access to lots of money, to weapons, explosives, chemical toxins, biological agents or radioactive material, then they are not a terrorist threat to us here in the UK.
We made the mistake of assuming that the few people who are currently under Control Orders would actually be kept under round the clock surveillance.
According to the BBC, it appears that at least two of the 16 people who are currently under these Control Orders are on the run.
One of them, appears to have been "missing" for "some months" !
Section 14 of the Act provides that, every 3 months, the Secretary of State must
(a) prepare a report about his exercise of the control order powers during that period; and
(b) lay a copy of that report before Parliament.
Such a report was made by Tony McNulty, the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety on the 11th September 2006 i.e. when the Home Office must have known that one of the, supposedly most dangerous people, in the UK was missing.
Surely Tony McNulty should resign for misleading Parliament if he did know, or for utter incompetence if he did not ?
Home Department Control Order Powers
The Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety (Mr. Tony McNulty): Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.
During the period 11 June to 10 September 2006, nine orders were made with the permission of the court under section 3(l)(a) of the 2005 Act—one in respect of a British citizen on 19 June 2006, one in respect of a foreign national on 31 July 2006, six in respect of foreign nationals on 1 August 2006 and one in respect of a British citizen on 5 September 2006.
The Secretary of State has also renewed one control order in accordance with Section 2 (4) (b) of the 2005 Act on 30 August 2006.
There are 15 control orders currently in force, six of which are in respect of British citizens.
During the period two requests to modify a control order obligation were agreed, and seven requests to modify a control order obligation were refused. A right of appeal exists in section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against a decision by the Secretary of State not to modify an obligation contained in a control order.
According to the BBC:
In response to suggestions the two suspects could carry out an attack tomorrow, Mr McNulty said: "On balance, I don't think that's the case at all."
In which case, one has to ask why these people are being subjected to Control Orders in the first place ?
Why did neither Tony McNulty nor his boss Home Secretary John Reid make a statement to Parliament, instead of spinning to the news media first ?
We suspect that there are insiders within the Home Office etc. who are thinking about contacting the media or even bloggers with more details about this scandal.
If there are, they should read our article : Home Office whistleblowers - hints and tips