Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/608/8718

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 January 2010

'Stop and search' unlawful

Socialist Party and ISR members protest at the 2003 arms fair in Docklands, east London, photo Paul Mattsson

Socialist Party and ISR members protest at the 2003 arms fair in Docklands, east London, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

LAST WEEK the European Court of Human Rights ruled that 'stop and search' powers given to the police by the Terrorism Act 2000 are unlawful.

Greg Randall

Protester Kevin Gillan and journalist Penny Quinton brought the case. They were both detained and searched by Metropolitan Police officers on the way to a 2003 demonstration against an arms fair in London's Docklands.

Penny Quinton was stopped and searched even after showing the police her press card. Kevin Gillan was told he had been stopped because there "were a lot of protesters about" and the police thought they "might cause trouble". These were protesters campaigning against bombs rather than carrying them!

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives the police the power to stop and search on a "hunch". No reasonable suspicion is needed that an offence has been committed or that the person detained is carrying anything which might be used for terrorist purposes.

In theory, the power is only usable in a specific area designated by the police for no more than 28 days, so the Metropolitan Police designate all of Greater London every 28 days.

The power was used around 250,000 times last year. Black and Asian people are four times more likely to be stopped and searched under Section 44 than white people. Less than 0.1% of those stopped using this power are arrested for terrorism offences, let alone charged or convicted.

Terrorism

The power is useless as a tool against terrorism, so why keep it? To harass protesters and deter others from joining them as well as giving the police and state an extra bit of control over society.

New Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson intends to appeal the judgement and says that there's no need to change the law. It seems likely that the government will simply ignore a problem ruling. The Tories and LibDems have voiced concern but opposition parties become keen on repressive powers when in power and charged with protecting big business.

Even if the section was repealed, the police could use other powers. Kent police stopped and searched protesters at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp in 2008, including eleven year old twins.

They used Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which requires reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is carrying weapons or articles that could be used for criminal damage.

As this could include a nail file, the power is almost as wide as the Section 44 power.

Alternatively, the police can use their common law powers, as when Kent miners were stopped from crossing the Thames on their way to pickets in the North during their 1984-85 strike.

The damage has been done by the time anyone can bring a court case, which most people cannot afford to do and which might not succeed. Judges are not noted as being sympathetic to protesters.

Trade unionists have to act to defend the right to protest and organise. Ditching New Labour and setting up a party committed to democratic rights would be a good start.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 19 January 2010:

Haitians abandoned, bankers rewarded


Socialist Party editorial

Haiti - disaster compounded by capitalism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend jobs, nationalise Bosch

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gets started

Support grows for new Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Donate to help build a socialist alternative


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs - demonstrate on 13 March


Socialist Party workplace news

Civil service compensation scheme: A fight for jobs and services

Victory for hospital workers

South Yorkshire firefighters forced to strike again

Virgin Trains ticket office workers walk out


International socialist news and analysis

Obama and the Democrats in power

Sri Lankan government condemned


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Stop and search' unlawful

Non jury trials undermine democratic rights

Spinning the war

LibDems show their true colours

Marching off the dole?

Socialist Party national committee


Education

Education trusts are "academies lite"

Stop the cuts in higher education

No business in our education


Unison witchhunt

Angry reaction to Unison witch-hunt


Socialist Party review

Dear Granny Smith


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 January 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Stop and search:

triangleKnife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

triangleKnife crime - a product of capitalist misery

triangleAnger after violent youth deaths - Communities need public services not cuts

triangleStop cuts and police repression in Tottenham!

triangleGrim toll for hidden police racism

Police:

triangleKnife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

triangleInterview: protests over killing in Israel

triangleStonewall riots' legacy shows need for socialist struggle to win LGBT+ liberation

triangle35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave

Terrorism:

triangleHow 'Prevent' training fosters racist paranoia

triangleGaza - protest is not terrorism!

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Why Marxism opposes terrorism

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

11/9/19

NSSN

Lobby of TUC: Upbeat meeting calls for trade union lead to boot out Tories

11/9/19

PCS

Fighting PCS general secretary needed - Marion Lloyd: Why I am standing

11/9/19

Climate change

Climate strikes: trade union round-up

11/9/19

Coventry

Coventry: 100 pack meeting against congestion charge

11/9/19

The Socialist

Socialist newspaper sales round-up

11/9/19

Salisbury

Salisbury welcomes Socialist campaigners

11/9/19

Leicester

Leicester Kashmir protest rejects religious smokescreen

11/9/19

Bracknell

Frimley hospital staff fight back-door privatisation

11/9/19

Leeds

Leeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

11/9/19

Fire

Another London block of flats destroyed by fire - remove unsafe cladding now!

11/9/19

Climate change

Students and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

11/9/19

Workers

Workplace news in brief

11/9/19

UCU

UCU ballots - yes to strike action on pensions, pay, workloads and equality

11/9/19

Asda

Asda workers protest against worse contract

11/9/19

Bus

Unions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999