The Irish Law & Democracy Committee
The ILDC has strongly criticised proposed amendments to existing stop and search powers initiated by British secretary of state Owen Patterson. The new proposals centre around the ‘Codes of Practice’ which is the statutory guidance for police officers administering these powers, in particular the Terrorism Act 2000 sections 43, 43A and 47A.
In essence it is an attempt to re-introduce section 44 by the back door, and rewords existing legislation some of which is currently the subject of judicial review, in an attempt to get round compliance with European Convention rights.
For example they wish to amend s43 which is a power of stop and search for items related to terrorism to “looking for evidence that the individual is a terrorist or that the vehicle is being used for purposes of terrorism.”
This consultation claims that this is a narrowing of the scope for this legislation but any objective view would see that this is a broadening of the scope. However, any re-introduction of designated or specified areas is a retrograde step back to the outlawed section 44. This entire raft of ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation should be repealed on a wholesale basis as is it not human rights compliant.
The proposed amendments are as follows:
The power under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 for a constable to
stop and search a person whom he or she reasonably suspects to be a
terrorist to discover whether he or she has in his possession anything
which may constitute evidence that s/he is a terrorist;
The power under section 43A of the Terrorism Act 2000 for a constable,
if she or she reasonably suspects that a vehicle is being used for the
purposes of terrorism, to stop and search a vehicle, the driver of a
vehicle, a passenger in a vehicle, and anything in or on a vehicle or
carried by the driver or a passenger of a vehicle to discover whether
there is anything which may constitute evidence that the vehicle is
being used for the purposes of terrorism; and
the power under section 47A of the Terrorism Act 2000 for a constable
to stop and search a person or a vehicle in a specified area or place for
evidence that a person is or has been concerned in the commission,
preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, or evidence that the
vehicle is being used for the purposes of terrorism. The specified area
or place must be specified in an authorisation made by a senior police
officer and confirmed by the Secretary of State in accordance with
section 47A of, and Schedule 6B, to the Terrorism Act 2000)
WITH MANY THANKS TO : The Irish Law & Democracy Committee
- Terrorism arrests rising in NI (bbc.co.uk)
- Police force to apologise after YouTube video showed PCSO accusing animal rights protester filming pet store of being a terrorist (dailymail.co.uk)
- Four arrested over terror funds (bbc.co.uk)
- More RUC/PSNI harassment of parents and children in Newry today (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
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