12 January 2010

European Courts rule that police's "arbitrary" use of "stop and search" laws (designed to combat terrorism) are illegal!

Some good news today guys. European courts ruled today that the "stop and search laws (designed to combat terrorism but used against the public without any need for
suspicion of terrorism) are illegal!

This article highlights the flaws in such a law, eg that you are four times more likely to be stopped and search using section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 ) if you are black or Asian! Apparently, the use of these "counter-terror powers" has grown fourfold from 33,177 times in 2004 to more than 117,200 in 2008. Which makes me wonder how high these numbers could have risen if this law had been left in place.

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights follows their acknowledgement that the "arbitrary" use of section 44 impedes on a persons human rights, such as a right to privacy. The police should not have the right to randomly stop and search (and thereby potentially humiliate) members of the public in the manner in which they have been doing.

As a result, Parliament must now respond to those who have expressed concerns against section 44 by reviewing the law and its application.

The full Guardian article can be found here.

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