Photo by Marc Vallee
The ability of UK police to use “arbitrary” counter-terror stop and search powers against peace protesters and photographers lay in tatters today after a landmark ruling by the European court of human rights.
The Strasbourg court ruled it was unlawful for police to use the powers, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, to stop and search people without needing any grounds for suspicion.
The widely-drawn ruling said that not only the use of the counter-terror powers, but also the way they were authorised, were “neither sufficiently circumscribed, nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse”…
A political furore ensued when it was disclosed that the whole of Greater London had been secretly designated for stop and search without suspicion since 2001…
The use of the powers is subject to confirmation by the home secretary within 48 hours, renewable after 28 days, but the European court said there was no real check on authorisations by parliament or the courts.
This was demonstrated by the continuous renewal, every 28 days, of the use of the powers in London since their first introduction, the judges added.
They said they were further concerned that the decision to stop and search somebody was “based exclusively on the ‘hunch’ or ‘professional intuition’ of the police officer”.
Another positive step forward against the regressive political powers handed over to governments in the wave of fear-mongering since 9/11.
Cowards always yearn for power that matches their favorite tyrants – and will fight to the last drop of our own blood to supersede civil rights and civil liberties. Both sides of the pond. Nice to see a bit of success at fightback.
4 thoughts on “Euro court rules arbitrary “stop and search” illegal”
A sensible ruling.
I wonder if the Euro Court ruling actually carries legal effect in England. It carries moral effect but probably little else. In ordinary times, this law should not be employed. However, I should remind everyone that Britain, USA, Canada and all of NATO for that matter is at war in Afghanistan.
There is a war with terrorists that is ongoing. These are exceptional times not peaceful times. Several times the enemies have carried the war to London, New York, Madrid, Darfur on the sea, on the land and into the air. They still remain targets.
While it is difficult to trust, the police, justice systems, and the politic are supposed to be on the side of the people they are sworn to protect. Its been a long war. And people tend to forget that. The British Law while appears Drakonian, is a tool that seems to work.
As much legal effect as if it was issued domestically.
Want to do business with the EU? You have to consider what rulings their courts decide. Not applied uniformly or without consideration; but, a critical part of the economic landscape.
These are exceptional times not peaceful times.
I’ve been hearing that ever since I was old enough to comprehend a political stump speech. If it wasn’t the “commies”, it was the “reds”, or the atheists, or the blacks, or undocumented workers, or terrorists.
Several times the enemies have carried the war to London, New York, Madrid, Darfur on the sea, on the land and into the air.
How many civilians have been killed in ALL terrorists attacks in Europe since 9/12/2001. Now, how many Europeans died last week because of lung cancer caused by smoking, or drunk driving, or domestic violence, …
The British Law while appears Drakonian, is a tool that seems to work.
The terrorists have won. Just the threat is enough to destroy our freedom and turn our society into a paranoid police state.