Friday, October 31, 2008

Making the law up part 2

Flicking through various blogs I spotted a link on one to Cheam schoolboy 'terrorist' stopped outside Wimbledon station to quote

told Fabian to sign forms under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which allows police to stop and search at random anyone they suspect of terrorism.
Okay I'm really getting fed-up of this from both the police and media alike. So for the protection of my readers (all 6 of you) here are the condensed details of the infamous Section 44 of the Terrorism Act:

Point 1: The act does indeed give police the power to stop and search both pedestrians and vehicles, however only within an area as specified in the authorisation.
Point 2: Said authorisation has to originate from an officer in that area of rank Assistant Chief Constable or higher (Commander for London).
Point 3: Said authorisation has to be approved by the Secretary of State.
[If it's not approved within 48 hours of being submitted it automatically ends however anything done between submission and failure is not unlawful... nasty loophole as submission is "as soon as is reasonably practicable"]
Point 4: Said authorisation has a maximum limit of 28 days.

Everyone got that - it is not a blanket stop and search power. I'm tagging this with Name and Shame as both police and media damn well should be.

[Update - just to be precise about this section 43 allows the police to stop and search anyone without authorisation; it does however have that annoying (from the police point of view) bit about requiring reasonable suspicion]