Britons think UK is turning into police state

By Ian Dunt | Britain is turning into a police state, according to users in a new poll.

The results come as concerns raised by the arrest of Damian Green refuse to die down.

Sixty-five per cent of users said they believed Britain was turning into a police state, echoing accusations of ‘Mugabe-style’ tactics levelled against the government by the Conservatives.

Only 24 per cent of users disagreed with the statement.

There was strong support for Mr Green, with 83 per cent of users saying he did not deserve to be arrested.

The government came in for criticism over the affair, indicating Labour’s response to the controversy has failed to satisfy the public.

The committee set up to assess the causes and impact of the arrest was lambasted by opposition parties for having a limited remit and only being able to convene after the police investigation is over.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are both boycotting the committee.

Seventy-eight per cent of users said they believed government figures were aware of the police action before it occurred.

Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith, home secretary, have explicitly said they were unaware of the arrest. Yesterday Sir Gus O’Donnel, head of the civil service, assured MPs on the public administration committee he was taken by surprise by the arrest.

He also confirmed the home secretary was not made aware of the arrest before it occurred.

But asked what should happen next, 51 per cent said the government had to prove it did not know of the arrest.

Twenty-three per cent of users said the system whereby police enter parliament had to be reformed. Nine per cent of users said heads should roll in the Metropolitan police.

Some users did disagree with the shadow immigration minister’s actions though. Eleven per cent called for a clampdown on people leaking government information, while nine per cent wanted Mr Green to apologise for leaking information.

There are several investigations into the arrest currently ongoing.

The police are investigating themselves through an internal inquiry set for publication next week.

Two committees of MPs — the home affairs committee and the public administration committee — are looking in to the arrest.

It is not yet clear how the committee set up by speaker Michael Martin will conduct its affairs now it is being boycotted by everyone but Labour.