19:43On 30th March four men were arrested at Stafford Hospital under the Terrorism Act. They had come to the hospital with a fifth man who was seriously ill. It is unclear from the media reports, exactly why staff at the hospital alerted the police. Apparently, it was something to do with the mysterious nature of the mans illness and some unspecified suspicious behaviour of the men with him. Were they all wearing dark glasses, sidling about and talking quietly into their lapels? Who knows no details are reported.
It wasnt long before the police announced that there was no evidence of terrorist activity. But they welcomed the fact that arrest under the Terrorism Act gave them the opportunity to investigate what appears to be a complex set of circumstances.
After two days all the suspects were released without charge. The police confirmed they had done nothing wrong and thanked them for their understanding and co-operation. Since then the story dropped out of the news.
On the face of it something like this could happen to any of us at any time. But no alarm bells seem to be ringing. The silence is deafening. Tony Blair wanted to change the Terrorism Act to let the police hold suspects for up to ninety days. Now imagine you or I take someone to hospital and for some incomprehensible reason armed police surround the building and cart us off to the nick. Being detained without charge for ninety days would test the most saintly capacity for understanding and co-operation. Is there no MP or investigative journalist out there demanding to know how this can happen?