Arrests underline security jitters before Olympics

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A system of house arrest for some suspects who cannot be charged with any offense — typically because to do so could jeopardize an intelligence source — has been scaled back. Authorities can order a person to stay at a specific address overnight, and restrict their contact with certain people, but the program is now limited to two years — previously it had been indefinite. Police no longer have powers to conduct random public searches on anti-terrorism grounds, while more stringent laws govern the retention of DNA or fingerprints.

WHAT IS THE PUBLIC TOLD?

When people are arrested on suspicion of terrorism — just like with any other crime in Britain — police publicly announce the age and genders of those arrested, details of addresses where they were detained and other locations being searched. Police also announce the alleged offenses carried out, but typically this is restricted to the brief legal definition and does not include detail of the specific case. If suspects are charged, prosecutors then outline more details at an initial court hearing before a judge. However, much of this can’t be immediately disclosed under laws which seek to ensure the suspects receive a fair trial and that potential jurors at any future hearing haven’t already been swayed by detailed accounts in the media.

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