What Is Internment And Could Britain Use It To Beat Terrorists?

28 May 2017, 11:45 | Updated: 28 October 2019, 15:53


A senior police officer during the 7/7 bombings has suggested that Britain should use internment to halt the rise of terrorism in the UK. But what is it and could it happen?

What is internment?

Internment refers to when a country arrests and detains terror suspects without any trial - or even having to show any evidence of any wrong-dong.

Why are people recommending internment?

Tarique Ghaffur, an Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard at the the 7/7 bombings, believes the use of internment is necessary to

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: “About 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored."

With an additional 400 jihadis having returned from Syria, he said the numbers were far too great for them to be monitored by the police and security services and detaining them is the safest way to preventing terror attacks.

What are the arguments against internment?

Many people believe that the imprisonment of suspectswithout trial goes against what the country stands for.

And as James O'Brien illustrates below, establishing the means of choosing who should be held is extremely difficult to agree on.


Has Britain used internment before?

Internment was implemented during the Troubles in Northern Ireland when 1,981 people were interned, most of them Irish nationalists.

Many people believe the resentment that the policy caused pushed more people to into terrorism than it stopped.

Are there any internment camps currently?

Guantanamo Bay is an internment camp for the United States, where many terror suspects are still held, despite never having been convicted of any offences.

At its peak, Guantanamo Bay held 245 people. Currently, 41 are still held in the camp in Cuba.