London, June 3 : Former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Peter Clarke, said here that police should be able to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days to combat the growing threat from extremists.
Clarke, who retired in February as the country's Co-Ordinator of Terror Investigations, said plots uncovered since 2005 show that "the terrorist threat is growing in scale and complexity".
The Daily Telegraph quoted Clarke as saying that the row over extending the detention time limit has been distorted by politicians.
In the strongest defence yet of the Government's plans, Clarke warned that the current 28-day limit would "undoubtedly" soon become insufficient to gather enough evidence to charge a suspect in increasingly complex terrorist investigations.
His intervention comes as British premier Gordon Brown faces the threat of defeat in the House of Commons next week over the issue.
The Prime Minister said on Monday that he would not compromise on the proposals. At a meeting of backbenchers last night MPs were told they should not hand David Cameron a victory by voting against the plans.
Clarke feared that the debate, in which the Tories are expected to vote against the plans, has been intruded upon by party politics and "an entire barrel of red herrings."
Reportedly, 50 Labour MPs could be planning to vote against the Government.
The Commons vote in eight days is already being billed as one of confidence in the Prime Minister following a recent back-bench revolt over the abolition of the 10p tax band and heavy losses in the local elections and Crewe and Nantwich by-election.