Tuesday, 12 January 2010

ECHR rules s44 Terrorism Act stop and search illegal!

In a case with serious implications for the use of the Terrorism Act 2000, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled in the case of Gillan and Quinton v UK that the use of stop and search powers under s44 Terrorism Act 2000 is illegal.

The rumour is that the Metropolitan Police have been told to suspend the use of such searches pending further guidance from the government, which may have to amend or repeal the existing law.
The judgment referred to the lack of controls over how the powers are used, that no reasonable suspicion is required, and statistics showing that the power is disproportionately used against black and asian males. Also, since the Act was introduced, the total of searches recorded by the Ministry of Justice went from 33,177 to 117,278.
A serious blow for government policy on terrorism. Guardian article here.

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