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UK 'Terror plot' inquiry spanning UK

BBC | August 19 2006

Every police force in the UK is now involved in the investigation into the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic airliners, it has emerged.

The 43 forces in England and Wales, eight in Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have sent, or are sending, officers to assist.

Hundreds are said to be involved with further officers on patrol at airports.

Meanwhile, searches of woodland at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and 14 addresses are continuing.

Police sources have confirmed the inquiry has moved into another area, with a property in Northolt, north-west London, now among those being searched.

The Metropolitan Police, which is leading the inquiry, has said it has already completed searches of 36 business and residential sites.

A total of 20 vehicles have also been searched as part of the investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "It's routine in a big investigation that ACPO coordinates mutual aid for forces.

"All forces across the UK are providing officers to help with the operation by the Metropolitan Police."

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the precise number of officers involved in the inquiry has not been disclosed for operational reasons.

Most of the officers dispatched are detectives, but police specialising in searches and scene of crime examination are also taking part in the investigation, he said.

The alert began on 10 August after raids in London, High Wycombe and Birmingham.

A district judge has granted anti-terror officers an extra seven days to question 21 of the 23 suspects being held, and an extra five days to question two.

Under the 2006 Terrorism Act the maximum period someone suspected of terrorist activity can be held without charge is 28 days, subject to regular court approval.

It is believed up to 17 people are being held in Pakistan over the alleged plot - with two British nationals of Pakistani descent among them.

Scotland Yard officers have also flown to Pakistan to liaise with the authorities there over the questioning of Rashid Rauf, the only man who has so far been named by Pakistani authorities.



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