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Stop-and-search powers ruled illegal by European court

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posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 12:49 PM
heres something of the bbc which will probably annoy the brittish parlament and the police

Armed police at Parliament
Police have faced criticism of their use of Section 44

Police powers to use terror laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion are illegal, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

The Strasbourg court has been hearing a case involving two people stopped near an arms fair in London in 2003.

It said that Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton's right to respect for a private and family life was violated.

Home Office Minister David Hanson MP said he was "disappointed" and would considering whether to appeal.

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the home secretary to authorise police to make random searches in certain circumstances.

But the European Court of Human Rights said the pair's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

The court said the stop and search powers were "not sufficiently circumscribed" and there were not "adequate legal safeguards against abuse".


More from The World At One

It also concluded that "the risks of the discriminatory use of the powers" were "a very real consideration".

The pair were awarded 33,850 euros (£30,400) to cover legal costs.

They were both stopped outside the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition at the Excel Centre in London Docklands in 2003, where there had already been protests and demonstrations.

Mr Gillan, 32, from London, was detained by police for about 20 minutes as he was cycling to join the demonstration.

Ms Quinton, 39, a journalist from London, was in the area to film the protests. She said she felt she was detained for about 30 minutes, although police records said it was five minutes.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's The World At One, Ms Quinton said she hoped the ruling would lead to the government drawing up a "fairer body of legislation to protect us".

She said: "The court hasn't said that there's no longer any scope for stops and searches, but that safeguards need to be in place to prevent misuse of these powers, because right now if somebody is stopped and searched, they have got no redress if they feel they were mistreated during the stop and search process.

"It's not about saying that there's no need for stop and search. What we're really saying is people have a right to privacy and there needs to be a balance between police powers to ensure our safety but also our rights to a private life."

Parliamentarians must finally sort out this mess
Corinna Ferguson

Mr Gillan said: "It's fantastic news after a long struggle. I look to the government for a strong response."

Both were represented by Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, who said the pressure group had "consistently warned" the government about the "dangers" of the powers.

Ms Ferguson added: "The public, police and Court of Human Rights all share our concerns for privacy, protest, race equality and community solidarity that come with this sloppy law.

"In the coming weeks, parliamentarians must finally sort out this mess."

But Mr Hanson, the policing and security minister, said he was disappointed at the decision given that the government had won all previous challenges in the UK courts.

He said: "Stop and search under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is an important tool in a package of measures in the ongoing fight against terrorism."

'Balancing exercise'

Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of anti-terrorist legislation, told the World At One that the implications of the ruling were potentially "quite serious" and may require a change in the law.

He added: "In my view, section 44 is being used far too often on a random basis without any reasoning behind its use.

"The fundamental point that the court is making is that it increases the possibility of random interference with t

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 01:10 PM
I agree with this ruling. I also feel it should be extended to driving a vehicle, making RIDE programs illegal. If I'm driving down the street, doing nothing wrong, there's no reason to be stopped by police and having them stick their head in my vehicle asking if I've been drinking. There is no justification for it.

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 01:17 PM
On the one hand I hate the way the UK police abuse their powers, on the other hand I feel the EU should keep it's nose out. We, the UK public should be the ones telling the UK gov that we have had enough of them abusing their powers, not some EU bod.

Edit so that it makes sense to me at least

[edit on 12/1/10 by thoughtsfull]

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 01:25 PM
When you join the European get more than you think. The good part is that something finally is being done to reign in abusive police powers. The Brits would never pull the police back unless and until there is some outrage that they cannot ignore perpetrated against a member of society. Even when the coppers shoot someone with no real justification ( recall the Demenzes affair?) they never change policy if it gives them MORE power.

Cops are power hungry and ultimately would love nothing better than to be able to search at any length and to any degree they wish, for no reason or any reason at all, with no oversight and no possibility of any repercussions. only a Court with a liberal basis in humanitarian goals will keep any lid on the abusive police powers being promulgated worldwide.

Good for the Court!!

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 01:42 PM
UK people should tell their own Government yes, instead of EU....BUT, do you?
You cant walk around in England without being followed by a camera. Some cameras even look into peoples homes. Now you cant even visit England without being seen naked first. So it was a good thing that the EU said no to the UK.

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