Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Victory for Civil Liberties.

The European Court of Human Rights have ruled that Police stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was unlawful in that it violated individual freedoms guaranteeing the rights to a private life stating that the Police use of the power was arbitrary! The judges were concerned that the exercise of the power was based on nothing more than a 'hunch' or professional intiution.

Under Section 44, the Home Secretary can authorise Police to make random stop and searches in a certain area. The case arose following thec stop and search of a journalist who was ordered to stop filming a protest outside an arms fair in London's Dockland in 2003.

Even the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Lord Carlile of Berriew has criticised Police for making excessive use of the power to stop and search. In his most recent report on anti Terrorism Lord Carlile estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 stops of people were taking place EVERY MONTH under Section 44 but NONE of the searches had resulted in a conviction for terrorism.

So much for 'proportionality' in terrorism legislation, back to the drawing board then!

Source: The Times.

1 comment:

alanindyfed said...

Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, said: "All governments have been sensitive to criticism, but this Government has taken the suppression of dissent to a new level - it is nervous to the point of paranoia and frightened of being told the truth."