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‘Reasonable suspicion must for making arrest’

world Updated: Jul 06, 2012 00:41 IST

The government's terrorism powers watchdog has warned the police that they must have "reasonable suspicion" before making arrests in the runup to the London Olympics.

David Anderson QC said he would be "watching like a hawk" to ensure terrorism arrests were not arbitrary and powers were not abused.

Anderson is the government's reviewer of terrorism legislation. His interview has been published in the Muslim News. Speaking before the arrests in the capital on Thursday, he said: "We have a lot of people in intelligence agencies manning their desks, having their leave cancelled and no doubt there will be a temptation for people to use that time as the Olympics become closer, to arrest people. There is a possibility that people will get worried and they will resort to power of arrest.

"What I want to make very clear to them is that it not something they are entitled to do unless they have a reasonable suspicion. I am watching like a hawk and, so far, in my experience, that tendency has not yet materialised."

In the interview, Anderson attempted to provide reassurance that any abuse of powers would be stamped out.

“If we were to see a large increase in arrests of Muslims during the Olympic period, even of only 50 people or a 100 people, something like that, I have no doubt there would need to be an inquiry into it, for exactly the same reason that you gave because one would need to be sure that proper, reasonable suspicion did exist... If people are arrested unjustly, I very much hope that they would complain.”