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Stop and Search UK Advice

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posted on May, 23 2010 @ 03:35 PM
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Just posting for help in the UK, Scottish Law. on the Stop and Search rules? My brother and son were out last night with a set of new binoculars my son bought to look at the moon and stars (we are all into astronomy) and were blocked into the layby they were parked in by an unmarked BMW. They immediately thought it wasn't the police until they put on blue lights within the car front window. The two officers got out asking them why they were out in a deserted area at midnight? They replied that they were testing the binos for astronomy. They said they did not believe them and were told to put their hands on the car and were body searched. They then proceeded to search the car and it my son's gadget bag in the boot he had a fishing knife he had from a trip the previous week that he forgot about as he takes it all with him on every trip. They then explained this was an offensive weapon and promptly arrested my son, handcuffed him and put him in the back of their unmarked car. My brother then saw the officer go into the boot of their police car and then approached my brother's car. My son seemed to be gesturing to my brother that he had something in his hand, whether this was a hand gun, tazer or truncheon, my brother could not make out as it was pitch black because of the light pollution when observing the sky at night. He then said to my brother that his ID and car documentations was all in order so he should go now. The problem is that the way these officers seemed to operate is as if they lived in Afghanistan and could stop and search without any reasonable cause. My brother got no warrant card shown to him to identify themselves. Today it seems like it was all an illusion as he has no proof that he got stopped and searched at all. In England I researched and found they need to provide a 'search record' form but this is not so in Scotland. My problem is that last year not far from where they were assaulted (my view) a girl was pulled over by two 'fake' policement in a dark BMW and was raped. They have never been caught... So it seems you can pull some one over, no matter what. So astronomers out there watch out as you might experience a situation like this yourselves? Any help or advice gladly taken from everyone in the know.

[edit on 23-5-2010 by kalenga]




posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:13 PM
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Hi sounds like a bit of an ordeal, let me give you the legal position. Police in Scotland can stop and search any person if they have reasonable grounds for suspicion. You can be stopped and searched if they reasonably suspect someone of carrying an offensive weapon, stolen property.

I would suggest that the Police acted under reasonable grounds for suspicion due to the bino's and the time of night that this was going on.

Hope this is of help.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:24 PM
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Originally posted by SpecialAgent25
Hi sounds like a bit of an ordeal, let me give you the legal position. Police in Scotland can stop and search any person if they have reasonable grounds for suspicion. You can be stopped and searched if they reasonably suspect someone of carrying an offensive weapon, stolen property.

I would suggest that the Police acted under reasonable grounds for suspicion due to the bino's and the time of night that this was going on.

Hope this is of help.

Thanks for the prompt reply. It has just made me angry and distrustful of the police in general now. I am scared now to go out now with my telescope or binos if this is what might be duplicated? How can you 'prove' you are only out enjoying your hobby which inevitably takes place later than usual at this time of year because of the light nights coming in? It is 20 past ten now and it is still not dark enough to see any stars etc... It used to be photographers the police targeted now it is astronomers! Patrick Moore here they come....

[edit on 23-5-2010 by kalenga]



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:39 PM
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reply to post by kalenga
 


There really is nothing you can do, if the police want to stop you they have the power to do so. It really shows what a sad state we are in when you can't go stargazing at night without people or police being suspicious.

[edit on 23-5-2010 by Solomons]



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:43 PM
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I can understand that when conforted by Police and you are subjet to stop and search it is not a nice expierence to have, but I would suggest that this is an isolated incident and you were just unfortunate that the Police were around at the time.

I would not let this stop you from enjoying your star gazing and nor should you be afraid of the Police. If you are ever in this situation again the best thing to do is to stay calm, allow the officers to do their search and tell them that you are enjoying your hobby of astronomy, they cannot do anything, cannot arrest you unless a crime has been committed.


So dont worry about this incident, you are doing and have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear, enjoy.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 05:22 PM
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If you think that you have been poorly treated then make a complaint.

Complain about the police

Regards



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 08:37 AM
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What I find a bit strange about this story is the mention of an "offensive weapon". It may just be that I dont know enough about Scottish law, but in England & Wales, regarding knives, "Carrying an offensive weapon" has been superceded by the rather sly law against "carrying an object with a blade or point longer than three inches".
What makes it so sly is that clearly there are plenty of tools & equipment that could be covered by that description, but if you were charged with it, you'd need to explain the circumstances to a jury. However, this offence can only be heard by a magistrates court, where you will always get found guilty unless there's overwhelming evidence to contradict the police account of the circumstances. What's crucial is the definition of "carrying". Is a knife stowed in a car boot being carried in a manner that the law intends to prohibit, or even carried at all, as opposed to transported? Without a jury, you'd have no chance of arguing such a point.
Of course, it wouldn't necessarily mean they weren't really coppers. Plenty of them are sloppy with proceedure. What happened to the knife? Any charges so far? If the knife was confiscated, there should at least be a formal caution if no charges are brought. If there isn't, then there may well be something dodgy involved.



posted on May, 24 2010 @ 09:01 PM
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reply to post by Bunken Drum
 
Update is that my son get let out on bail till a trial in January 2011. The lawyer acting for my son says there are real discrepancies in the whole incident and is going to take it further by asking questions. He said the police should not have been on a dark country road unless they were called there and their remit for that night according to police duty rota was they should have been patrolling the housing schemes a few miles away because it was a Saturday night and the football was on. So the question has to be answered by them why they were driving there? Also the blocking of the car by their car is not normal procedure according to the lawyer as they had no reasonable cause to apprehend them as there was no proof they were commiting a crime. There must be a suspicion of probable cause to stop and search anyone. I asked about what is classed as an offensive weapon and the law is so ambigious that me having a metal nail file in my bag is classed as an offensive weapon. Also I said I took a small Stanley knife down to my car to cut the seat cover ties to get them washed and I have it in the glove compartment. Apparently I am carrying and offensive weapon. We were told the minimum sentence for having an offensive weapon is 6 months and up to 4 years. The ambiguity of this law of carrying a knife has loads of loopholes in my opinion. Also, my brother whose car they were in will have his name, address, registration details kept on file for 12 months in a database for monitoring purposes. So even if you are stop and searched and they find nothing to arrest you for, by association you are subliminally considered a risk. We are thinking of going to the papers as a 'public interest' as this has not been highlighted in the media as far as I know? The law on stop and search is obviously flawed....



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 01:37 AM
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reply to post by kalenga
 
Well, I dont think the lawyer will get far trying to challenge the stop & search. The American requirement for "probable cause" is much stricter than the British "reasonable suspicion". The police can just say they suspected some kind of illegal business transaction, because it was late & in the middle of nowhere.
I'd concentrate on the fact that the law against offensive weapons was not intended to prevent a person innocently carrying fishing gear in the boot of a car, just as it wasn't intended to stop an athelete driving to their club transporting a javelin. I'd find out what the lawyer thinks about going to the media before doing so: if the case is as simple as it sounds & your son hasn't got previous, it may get dropped before trial anyway. Too much attention might not be such a good thing...
I think this is going to hinge on the fishing gear being obviously just that & some evidence that they really were just sky-watching, because I'd expect the prosecution to try to insinuate that something illegal was going down, just that the police didn't discover what.



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 07:33 AM
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There was fishing gear in the boot as well though the knife was not amongst the tackle etc... it was in the bag. Talking to the lawyer more today it seems when the check was done via the radio in the police car, it seems it came back that my son had previous knife carrying convictions but the lawyer said they seemed to have mixed him up with someone else with the same name and birth date!!! How bad is that even though the addresses did not match they still assumed he was that perpetrator? So, I imagine this will be more evidence to prove their procedures were flawed though what willl happen to them? Maybe they will get a written warning? My son is currently suffering agrophobia so for him to be outside is a major achievement. Now after this happening it will set him back to the start? The weekend stay in the cells freaked him out as well that I do not think he trusts going out ever again? I am taking him to the docs today because of this. It just shows you that the law is so open ended and small details are ignored just because they are so hell bent on getting the figures up for knife crime to put it in the papers in a year's time. My idea of the media is to highlight that this could happen to anyone. You have no rights under the stop and search procedures as it is now. I even feel fear now that I could be pulled over and searched and there is nothing I can do or refuse for them to do as the law is on their side. No wonder there are organisations fighting this law even though it is generally fought in the case of immigrants or coloured ethnic people sighting them as would be terrorists. Something needs to be done to highlight this as if this happened to say a frail old couple or vunerable people like my son, it could end with catastrophic circumstances such as suicide or ill health?



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by kalenga
 
Wow! Same name & birthday! Thats really unfortunate. I can see why they arrested him, but you'd have thought they could have checked a photo before a whole weekend passed, eh? The fishing tackle & bag is all part of the same gear tho I'd say, so hopefully it'll be alright.
Hope he gets over it.



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 06:10 PM
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reply to post by Bunken Drum
 
If there was ever a case for the identity card system then this experience proves that perptrators of crime would be identified easily as the police would have the video link in their car to match up the two photos and see that it was not the same person (not unless my son had a doppleganger). I think the lawyer himself wants to look into a lot of what happened that night as now we have found out they located the arrest taking place in another area ie: nearer to where they should have been. So it looks like this might make the news once it goes to trial if the lawyer gets the evidence to investigate these police officers. A court reporter will pick this story up so look out mid January in the local or national press. My son is not going out at night to do any star gazing till this is all sorted out. My brother is of the same opinion and so am I. It would be the worst luck if that ever happened again but truth is stranger than fiction nowadays!



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