Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Crossing Legal Boundaries in Defence of the State

Edited by Aniceto Masferrer and Clive Walker

The initial responses to 9/11 engaged categorical questions about ‘war’, ‘terrorism’, and ‘crime’. Now the implementation of counter-terrorism law is infused with dichotomies – typically depicted as the struggle between security and human rights, but explored more exactingly in this book as traversing boundaries around the roles of lawyers, courts, and crimes; the relationships between police, military, and security agencies; and the interplay of international and national enforcement. The contributors to this book explore how developments in counter-terrorism have resulted in pressures to cross important ethical, legal and organizational boundaries. They identify new tensions and critique the often unwanted outcomes within common law, civil law, and international legal systems.

Chapter 14: The amplification and melding of counter-terrorism agencies

Clive Walker and Andrew Staniforth

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, human rights, terrorism and security law


The function of this chapter is to draw out themes from the institutional developments experienced by the police and security agencies in response to terrorism since September 11, 2001. Accordingly, there are two parts to the chapter. In the first part, analysis is provided of the changes which have occurred. Two principal trends are suggested: ‘Amplification’ and ‘Melding’. These will be explored in structural and operational terms. Amplification provides added capability, and one aspect of that added capability has been expended on melding which has involved the crossing of functional and structural boundaries between two types of organisation: police forces and intelligence agencies. In the second part, consequential impacts and problems are raised and discussed. These include whether terrorism has been more effectively countered since 2001, and what further problems emanate from the changes, whether in the realms of policy or practice? The United Kingdom will be studied as a leading exemplar of these processes, but brief consideration should be accorded to international melding (literally across boundaries) as well as to other domestic developments. ‘Amplification’ and ‘Melding’ are posited as the two themed changes which have taken place since September 11, 2001. These two trends are not new phenomena within the United Kingdom since the national security architecture has been affected by terrorism throughout its long history. In 1883, and in response to the ‘Dynamite Campaign’ of Irish Fenians in England, the then Secretary of State for the Home Depart- ment, Sir William Vernon Harcourt, called for the creation of a specialist policing unit to combat the increasing threat from Irish Republican terrorists on the basis that ‘This is not a temporary emergency requiring a momentary remedy, this will last far beyond the term of my life and must be met by a permanent organisation to detect and control it’.

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