Has it all calmed down a little now? Can I actually start writing this entry without getting too wound up and having to abandon it?
Okay, here goes …
I first started posting about the S.44 ‘stop and search’ reports back in late Sept. of last year. Since then the reports have become somewhat more common in their reporting and certainly more high-profile in the subjects that have been stopped and detained by police in London.
Not wishing to make comment on individual cases, I would like to add my (possibly insignificant?) voice to the growing chorus of photographers that have hailed the decision earlier this week of the ECHR that ‘stop and search’ powers are illegal as being A Good Thing™.
Granted, the government is considering appealing this ruling, but where does this leave us? Well, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (which is the co-ordination body of police policy in England and Wales) the powers will continue to be in effect. In a statement to Amateur Photographer the ACPO stated “The use of stop and search powers under Section 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act remain an important tactic in our counter-terrorism strategy.”
Oh really? Well, according to an article in today’s Independent “Not a single stop-and-search under the new anti-terrorism powers has resulted in a conviction for terrorism. Yet police officers in England and Wales used the powers to search nearly 200,000 people last year.”
That’s 200,000 people that have had their rights violated for not even a single conviction.
I only hope that any appeal by the government fails and that the laws concerning stop and search are more clearly defined and correctly adhered to by police officers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for an abolishment of these laws, but the stop and search laws could certainly do with clarification.
Further reading on this subject :
Armed Police swoop on Thames tourist
BBC photographer terror stop
Photographer in Christmas lights ‘terror’ stop
Police U-turn on photographers and anti-terror laws
Photographers’ terror stops sparks fresh Commons petition
Photographer stopped after photographing a church (which was next to a bank)
‘Not a Terrorist’ photographer to lodge formal complaint against police
Police : Photographers should carry identification
City of London police : Stops are justified
Special Report : FoI requests show extent of Section 44 use