Home Secretary David Blunkett has proposed that the range of offences for which a police arrest is justified should be very significantly extended. The Home Office has asked for comment on a consultation paper it has published. If implemented this could see arrest being an option for police in the case of persons who drop litter or who perpetrate graffiti, for example. At present only offences susceptible to a prison sentence of at least five years are arrestable offences.
This proposal, together with a number of the other proposals included in the paper, would represent a considerable extension of state power over the citizen. It seems to be yet another example of Blunkett producing crack-pot ideas during the politically-quiet summer recess. This must be the most illiberal Home Secretary we have had in many decades, from either major political party. The BBC has a comment area to leave views on these proposals. My vew, simply put, is that what we really need (and quickly) is a new Home Secretary who is wedded to the values our democracy is supposed to represent, not someone who seems to have it as his mission to turn us into a nation of helots. He needs to remember he works for us; we do NOT work for him.