Tarique Ghaffur, who oversaw security operations during the 2012 London Olympics and was Scotland Yard assistant commissioner at the time of the 7/7 attacks in 2005, said extremists should be held without trial just as suspected IRA members were in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.
He called for Imams to issue a "collective fatwa" on extremists by "condemning terrorist atrocities and giving religious backing to the new centres for the good of society".
Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Ghaffur said the internment camps would be "community-based centres where they (extremists) would be risk-assessed and theologically examined".
Mr Ghaffur added: "Then the extremists would be made to go through a deradicalisation programme, using the expertise of imams, charity workers and counter-terrorism officers.
"Those who can be deradicalised should be carefully allowed back into the community. But those deemed too dangerous should be locked up."
Tarique Ghaffur said extremists should be detained following the Manchester terror attack
The ex-police chief, a practising Muslim, said there was a precedent for such internment camps, after similar laws were activated at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Nearly 2,000 people were held without trial between 1971 and 1975, the large majority being suspected IRA members.
The policy sparked a wave of fresh violence against the British Army and hunger strikes amongst prisoners.
Mr Ghaffur claimed his detention centres would be different, "as they would have backing from Muslim leaders".
Mr Ghaffur called for imams to issue a "collective fatwa" on extremists
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People flee the Manchester Arena after Monday's bomb blast
While he accepted his views would be seen as "oppressive by many", Mr Ghaffur argued: "We face an unprecedented terrorist threat in Britain – about 3,000 extremists are subjects of interest to MI5 and police, and about 500 plots are being monitored.
"Add more than 400 jihadis who have returned from Syria and you realise the numbers are way too many for the security services and police to monitor.
"The atrocities of Manchester and Westminster have shown that ordinary surveillance, monitoring and tagging are not working."
The atrocities of Manchester and Westminster have shown that ordinary surveillance, monitoring and tagging are not working
Former Met Police chief Tarique Ghaffur
His views run contrary to those of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who dismissed the idea in an interview with the same newspaper.
She said: "It's not enough just to say 'This is who the security services are following, maybe we should lock them all up'."
the attack claimed 22 lives including seven children
The victims had been to see a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande
It follows CCTV footage being released showing Manchester bomber Salman Abedi in the hours leading up to his fatal terrorist attack, as police continue their investigation into Monday's atrocity.
The UK's terror threat level was reduced from critical to severe on Saturday, following the "significant progress" made by officers investigating the bombing, which has so far seen 11 suspects arrested in connection with the attack.
Greater Manchester Police have now released still images showing Abedi walking through the city hours before he detonated a nail bomb that killed 22 people – including seven children – who were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.
The 22-year-old Islamic extremist is seen wearing glasses, baseball cap, puffa jacket and ruck sack, and officers are appealing for information about the killer's movements between May 18 and the night of the attack on May 22.
Police have issued CCTV images of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi's final hours
The huge police operation that followed saw raids in several cities as counter-terror efforts were focused on cornering his suspected criminal ring.
The country's terror threat level was raised to its highest level of critical for the first time in a decade in the aftermath of the bombing – but its subsequent de-escalation suggests this week's police operations have headed off any immediate threats.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May has urged the public to "remain vigilant", while Home Secretary Ms Rudd warned that Islamic State was changing its tactics and encouraging followers to bring the war onto British soil.
Ms Rudd claimed the success of the military offensive against IS in Syria and Iraq, which included British airstrikes, has forced terrorists to rethink its strategy.
"A whole new terrorism industry is trying to recruit large numbers of British suicide bombers now IS are in retreat in Syria," she told the Mail on Sunday.
"They've changed their message from 'Come and join the Caliphate' to 'You can do your damage in your own country'.
"I don't want to alarm people but I do want to level with them: This is a difficult environment, people are going to want to do damage."
Who are the Manchester bombing victims? Thu, May 25, 2017
At least 22 people have died, with more than 60 injured
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Sorrell Leczkowski, a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Leeds
Ms Rudd was sceptical when asked if bringing back the death penalty would deter would-be attackers, saying: "These are suicide bombers."
Speaking after a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee, the Prime Minister said the decision to lower the threat level followed "a significant amount of police activity" over the last 24 hours.
She said: "The public should be clear about what this means – a threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely. The country should remain vigilant."
Mrs May also said Operation Temperer, allowing the military to be deployed to protect key sites, will be reined in after the bank holiday.
In the latest raids a 20-year-old and a 22-year-old were detained on suspicion of terror offences in Cheetham Hill, near Manchester city centre.
It came amid searches at a separate property in Cheetham Hill and an address in the Longsight area in south Manchester, while a road in Moss Side was evacuated by officers searching a home there.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins hailed "significant progress" in the investigation, following disclosures that "key players" of Abedi's suspected terror network had been captured.
An unprecedented security operation was in full swing on Saturday as tens of thousands of people attended major spectacles including the FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham.
Arrangements have been reviewed at more than 1,300 events, while the pool of armed officers available to be deployed around the country has been boosted by 1,100 after military personnel were drafted in to cover guard posts at high-profile locations.
With Manchester still in the throes of mourning, a vigil was announced for victim Martyn Hett by his family, to take place from 7pm at Heaton Moor Park in Stockport on Sunday.
The 29-year-old PR manager was remembered fondly in the wake of the bombing for his tireless enthusiasm, captured in the viral hashtag #BeMoreMartyn.