SECTION 44 – TERRORISM ACT 2000

The Love Police was doing the usual, enjoying free speech in a corporate zone, and the Beefeaters (Royal Guardians) of the Tower of London called the Police on us. Again. This time, the Police knew to send more than one officer. They sent an Inspector (rather senior), two Sargeants, and five officers. 4 Police cars. Sirens.

This is our attempt to show you how to stop yourself getting arrested under this RIDICULOUS and OVER-USED Terror Act.

Do not consent.

No one rules if no one obeys.

Live Free. Die Free

The Love Police: How to Escape a TERROR STOP (1 of 2):

 

The Love Police: How to Escape a TERROR STOP (2 of 2):

 

Liberty Wins Landmark Stop And Search Case In Court Of Human Rights

12 Jan 2010

Today the Court of Human Rights ruled that section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (the broad police power for stop and search without suspicion) violates the right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights.

In the case of Gillan and Quinton V the United Kingdom, the Court found that:

…the powers of authorisation and confirmation as well as those of stop and search… are neither sufficiently circumscribed nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse. ….They are not therefore “in accordance with the law”.

The case arose from an arms fair in the Docklands area of East London in September 2003 where Pennie Quinton and Kevin Gillan (amongst many other journalists and peace protestors) were subject to lengthy stop and search and prevented from attending a demonstration. After public consternation and parliamentary questions, it emerged that the whole of Greater London had been secretly designated for stop and search without suspicion on a rolling basis since 2001.

Corinna Ferguson, Legal Officer for Liberty and acting for the applicants, said:

Liberty has consistently warned the Government about the dangers of stop and search without suspicion and actively campaigned for the tightening up of the infamous section 44 power. The public, police and Court of Human Rights all share our concerns for privacy, protest, race equality and community solidarity that come with this sloppy law. In the coming weeks, Parliamentarians must finally sort out this mess.

Pennie Quinton said:

There has to be a balance between private life and security. The Court has shown that section 44 is an invasion of people’s right to liberty and privacy.

Kevin Gillan said:

It’s fantastic news after a long struggle. I look to the Government for a strong response.

Contact: Mairi Clare Rodgers on 020 7378 3656 or 07973831128

Notes to Editors:
1) Section 44 of the Terrorism Act allows “areas” (not defined) to be designated for stop and search without suspicion by a police constable. Designation is by an Assistant Chief Constable (subsequently endorsed by the Home Secretary). Designations may be made in secret and no judicial or parliamentary involvement is required. Designations last 28 days but have been made on a rolling basis for years at a time. Whole police areas may be designated and during the height of the Iraq War, these included several counties of England and Wales. The test for designation is not “necessity” but mere “expedience”.

2) The power has frequently been used against peaceful protestors including the octogenarian holocaust survivor Walter Wolfgang who was unlawfully ejected from the Labour Party conference in 2005 after heckling the then Foreign Secretary (now Justice Secretary) Jack Straw.

3) The statistics on the use of this power demonstrate as few as 0.6 per cent of stop and searches in 2007/8 resulted in an arrest and that if you are black or asian you are between 5 and 7 times more likely to be stopped under section 44. The Court noted (paragraph 85 of the judgment), the disproportionate number of black and asian people that have been stopped. Liberty will be suggesting urgent amendments to section 44 during the passage of the Crime and Security Bill (before Parliament in the next few weeks). These would:

– Require that a section 44 authorization is only given if either events to be held in a specific area; the nature of a place; or
specific information received mean that the person giving the authorization reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent acts of terrorism.

– Require that authorizations for an area or place are no larger than is reasonably necessary to enable a constable to effectively respond to a terrorism threat and is no more than one square kilometre in total.

– Require that authorizations can be made only by a chief officer of police.

– Require that authorizations do not last longer than is reasonably necessary and must not exceed 24 hours.

– Require that authorizations are not renewed for the same area within 7 days unless renewed in writing by the Secretary of State.

– Require that if the Secretary of State renews an authorization on six or more occasions he or she must lay a copy of the renewed authorization before both Houses of Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable.

– Require that notice of an authorization must be published as soon as reasonably practicable and not later than 7 days after the authorization is given.

Source

 

SECTION 44 – TERRORISM ACT 2000

What is Section 44?
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to stop and search anyone in a specific area.

Before Section 44, the police could only stop and search individuals if they had ‘reasonable grounds’ for suspicion and certain criteria were met. That is no longer necessary, and we have seen Section 44 powers used against anti-war, anti-weapons and anti-capitalist protestors.

Why is Section 44 a problem?
The power to stop and search under anti-terrorism powers should only be used when there is evidence of a specific terrorist threat. It should not be simply an addition to the day to day powers of officers policing protests.

Ministry of Justice statistics showed that in 2008 there was a three-fold increase in the use of the power, but fewer than 0.1% of those stopped were arrested for terrorism offences (let alone charged or convicted).

Even more worryingly, the statistics also reveal that if you are black or Asian, you are around four times more likely to be stopped than if you are white. It is not difficult to see how this level of misuse is undermining public trust in the police.

What is happening now?
On 12 January 2010 Liberty won a landmark legal case on Section 44.

In Gillan and Quinton v the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Section 44 violates the right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights. This is because the power is so broad that it fails to provide safeguards against abuse.

Find out more about the case in the press release below.

What is Liberty doing?
Despite the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Section 44 will remain in place until it is amended by Parliament.

Liberty will be suggesting urgent amendments to Section 44 to comply with the judgment during the passage of the Crime and Security Bill, currently before Parliament.

Find out more about how the amendments would change the law in the press release below or read our detailed policy briefing.

What you can do
Help us campaign for Section 44 to be amended by telling us about your experiences. If you have been searched under Section 44, please complete this monitoring form and send it to us by post or email.

Source

 

YOUR RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 44

At the time

  • – The police can only give you a pat down, remove outer clothes (eg jacket, hat), search your bags and have you empty your pockets
  • – You do not have to give your name and address
  • – You do not have to explain why you are there
  • – You are not allowed to flee the search, but you are not required to be actively compliant. You are allowed to ‘go limp’ as passive resistance during the search if you wish not to comply
  • – There is no permission to collect DNA data during the search
  • – You do not have to comply with any attempt to photograph or record you
  • – Women cannot be touched by male police during these searches
  • – Make notes about the officers searching you – name, number and police force
  • – Note the time and the events preceding the search
  • – Note the specific wording used by the police to explain their authority to search you
  • – Ask the police for the reason that they are searching you. Specifically, are they searching for terrorists or are they simply trying to deter, delay or inconvenience you?

Afterwards

  • – Hold on to the Search Record or any other documentation the police give you (or note if you don’t receive one)
  • – Make brief notes about the search while you still remember all the details
  • – Do not write anything down on the day that you don’t want disclosed to the police. Police may search you again and be able to read anything that you have written down
  • – Please complete and submit Liberty’s search monitoring form
  • – Consider making a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • – Write to Lord Carlile, the independent monitor of the implementation of anti-terrorism legislation (Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, The House of Lords London SW1A 0AA)
  • – Consider pressing charges if the officers used unnecessary force during the search

Source

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