THERE will be general satisfaction in Britain and more widely that the Metropolitcan Police has been able to charge eleven of the 24 terrorism suspects in less than two weeks; most of the others are still under investigation. The speed with which the police have moved is commendable and perhaps indicates that the plot in which the accused were involved may have been close to its implementation.
An ususual feature of this affair has been the freedom with which the Home Secretary, John Reid, and the Met's Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Peter Clarke, have felt able to speak to the media. In his initial statement Mr Reid gave details of the way in which inquiries had been pursued and arrests made and also made the confident assertion that the big players had been caught. Yesterday Mr Clarke was similarly forthcoming, saying that bomb making eqipment including chemicals and electrical compnents had been found and confirming that so-called martyr videos had been recovered; he also spoke of 69 searches that yielded 400 computers, 200 mobile telephones and 8'000 computer media items. The analysis of these items will take months.
The obvious danger in revelations of this kind is that the accused may later claim they were prejudicial to their defence. However both Mr Reid and Mr Clarke must have decided that, after some other recent police operations that went wrong, greater openess is desirable.
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