Damn! I thought I was pretty up to date about the sinister increase in unaccountable police powers over the past 13 years. I HAD NO IDEA of its full extent until I read 'Domestic Extremism - secretive, unaccountable, therefore untrustworthy Police units' on Spyblog.
I used to be a spook, and at the beginning chafed at the many restraints put on our ability to do our job. But I came to understand that all those elastic bands were designed to make it damned difficult to indulge in ill-considered action.
It came down to this: the British political/judicial establishment judged it preferable to accept a considerably less than possible level of security from foreign and domestic threats than to empower the intelligence and security services to the point where they might become a law unto themselves.
Seems that consideration has gone right down the toilet. To modify Lord Acton's dictum: unaccountable power tends to corrupt, absolutely unaccountable and anonymous power corrupts absolutely.
It may be that these secretive police organisations will behave with restraint while they are led by people who grew up in the old tradition - but once today's young apparatchiks take over, the consequences of abandoning centuries-old guarantees of civil liberty will become starkly apparent.