The Police, Powers and Procedures England and Wales 2008/09 statistical bulletin was released by the Home Office this morning, providing an indication of the enormous scale of Section 44: stop and search.
Police carried out 66% more stops and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act in 2008/2009 than the year before, government figures show today.Amateur Photographer magazine can reveal that police made 210,013 stops and searches under the controversial anti-terrorism legislation in 2008/2009.Lord Carlile of Berriew QC (the government's terrorism tsar) said Section 44 is having a 'disproportionately bad effect on community relations'.'Nothing fills my in-tray and in-box more than complaints on the use of Section 44,' he told the Policy Exchange think-tank.
This obviously covers the period before the European Court ruling in January that Section 44 was illegal, but does show the extent to which the number of stop and searches had exploded in the period before the ECHR intervention.
Although Lord Carlile has been strong on this issue, the government have remained largely silent since the original ruling. Inthe Big Brother Watch manifesto released this morning, we explicitly state that there should be no restart for stop and search.
It would be good to see the political parties agree with this sentiment.
By Dylan Sharpe