Sir: If MI5 is allowed to extend its role into that of criminal police work (report, 22 September), the Government will have effectively created a national secret police force.
If there is a need to increase police resources for fighting international crime, and a surplus of resources once needed to combat cold-war spying, the proper action would be to increase the budget for one, and reduce that of the other. If this means that MI5 officers with special skills in surveillance, subterfuge, etc become redundant, they would, equally, become available for recruitment into specialist departments of the police. From such cross-fertilisation, brilliant new initiatives often arise. This would be the proper way to deal with the matter, in a society that claims to be free and democratic. It would be for the Home Secretary to ensure that the police did take up the opportunities.
As it is, the exercise looks very much as if it is designed to protect the empires, and salaries, of the generals rather than bring more troops to bear on crime.
22 SeptemberReuse content