Theresa May misuses Soham tragedy for snooping powers


8:50 am - April 10th 2012

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contribution by Bob James

I was amazed to see Theresa May using the Huntley Case to justify the government’s plans to extend the scope of the surveillance society.

The Birchard enquiry into Soham proves that we need stronger police, not weaker civil liberties.

Her claim that ‘web spies will trap killers like Huntely’ is blatantly wrong on the facts of that case.

The Birchard enquiry into the Soham murders actually showed quite the opposite.

What it revealed was that the state already had the power to prevent these murders, it just didn’t use it effectively. This was the finding of the Bichard enquiry.

It found that Humberside Police had wrongly deleted information about previous allegations made against Huntley, which related to sexual assaults, and that they had also failed to check the records which they had kept, which would have revealed his conviction for burglary.

In fact the failings here were so egregious that David Westwood, Chief of Humberside Police, was ultimately suspended from his post.

Why, then, does Theresa May claim that it wasn’t the failure by the police that led to this crime, but a surfeit of civil liberties? There are echoes of ‘cat gate’ here. She was either being intentionally misleading or she was genuinely ignorant of the facts of the case. Either way, it is a poor argument for an even worse bit of proposed legislation.

What Soham proves is that, if we want to be safe, we don’t need to give more power of intrusion into our daily lives to people like Theresa May. Instead what we need is a better trained, and better organised, police force.

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Reader comments


1. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Why, then, does Theresa May claim that it wasn’t the failure by the police that led to this crime, but a surfeit of civil liberties? There are echoes of ‘cat gate’ here. She was either being intentionally misleading or she was genuinely ignorant of the facts of the case. Either way, it is a poor argument for an even worse bit of proposed legislation.

Politicians do it all the time, take an emotive issue and claim that panacea du jour will or would have stop/stopped it,

Blunkett in particular was a cunt for it – I lost count of the number of things the entitlement card scheme was going to put an end to; paedophiles, refugees, benefit fraud, terrorism, muggings, knife attacks, people on a different mobile phone tarrif, etc, etc.

laughable isn’t it.

It’s all a bit “divide and conquer” again if you ask me.

“We won’t snoop on ‘ordinary’ people. Just those freaks and perverts and criminals”

Same as the whole treatment of benefits claimants – “We won’t touch ‘genuine’ claimants just those who ‘cheat the system'”

Same as workfare was “Only for those who were ‘long-term’ out of work”

Same as opposition to various government actions is by “trots and socialist workers, not real people – just labels”

The intent of this language is clearly propaganda – to make a division in the readers mind between themselves (almost everyone considers themselves normal) and the people who fall under the poor treatment by the government.

Saddens me the government is so transparent, yet some people will undoubtedly fall for it.

3. the a&e charge nurse

Is there any legislation that might be introduced to put an end to the likes of Theresa May?

Herr Goebbels would have been proud of her.
British Governments of the last thirty years have achieved more than Uncle Jo’ and Adolf could have dreamed of.
Where exactly are we ‘sleepwalking’ to here?

Well, the ploys to justify the snooping plans get more disingenuous by the day. Anyone at all convinced that said plans won’t be used and abused in ways which our dear leaders assure us will not happen.
So much for the Right loving civil liberties and freedom from government intrusion. Glad we’re now able to put that lie to bed.

6. Trooper Thompson

It’s definitely standard operating procedure. I think the last few years, and the continuity between one government and the next shows us it’s not really the politicians, either right or left, but rather the authoritarian nature of the state. After all, it’s elements within the police and intelligence which are always telling the politicians that saying they need more power.

Not to say we should not vociferously attack the politicians for their betrayal of what they said in the past.

7. Leon Wolfeson

@4 – Hyperbole.

They haven’t got round to the Jews yet.

@ 1.

Funny you should mention David Blunkett, I thought of him as soon as I heard this rubbish being spouted. Do you think that dear Theresa spent an afternoon surfing online, and discovered the < David Blunkett Policy Generator?

Her claim that ‘web spies will trap killers like Huntely’ is blatantly wrong on the facts of that case.

Are you implying that policy based evidence needs to be accurate?

Never heard that one before……

Anyway, we’ll presumably catch all the terrorists with G mail accounts.

That’s got to be worth it.

10. Leon Wolfeson

@9 – Um no, gmail isn’t hosted in the UK, and wouldn’t be covered…


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