Bound not Bond
Scotsman.com News - Red tape stops checks on nine out of 10 terror suspects
SUSPECTED terrorists are slipping through the net because security services and police are so badly bogged down by bureaucracy, intelligence sources have claimed.
Special Branch and MI5 officers are forced under human rights laws to spend hours form-filling before carrying out the most basic surveillance tasks.
The problems are made worse by undermanning and mean that only a handful of the estimated 150 Islamic extremist suspects in Scotland are under constant surveillance.
We have discovered serious misgivings among officers about manning levels and the law under which they operate, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
We can reveal that:
• Getting permission for the most basic surveillance operation, such as observing a building, takes up to half a day of paperwork and referrals to senior officers;
• Authorisation for a full-scale surveillance operation, such as following a suspect, can require up to three days of bureaucracy;
• If requests are rejected, officers have to spend around three or four hours filling in forms to explain why;
• Keeping one suspect under 24-hour surveillance takes between 24 and 36 highly trained staff, but there are thought to be just 250 Special Branch officers in Scotland;
• Health and safety regulations mean officers are generally restricted to working maximum shifts of eight hours;
It was all so much easier when we could rely on Big Tam and his rule breaking ways, even if he is only armed with a Walther LP53 air pistol....