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Stop and search powers under Sections 43 and 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to continue, despite ECHR rulingFriday 15 January 2010 at 9:23 pm | In News | Post Comment
The ruling was in response to case brought by two people who were searched by police near an arms fair in London’s Docklands in 2003. Their case challenged the police’s right to conduct searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
But police insisted they would ignore the ruling and that the use of Section 44 would remain in force “in specified locations across London” including major landmarks and “crowded places”.
And Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the government would appeal against the ruling.
“The threat remains real and serious, and stop and search can deter and disrupt terrorist activity and create a hostile environment for terrorists. Protecting the public remains our priority.”
The Conservatives on Wednesday said they would seek to ban the indiscriminate use of counter-terrorism laws by police.
In a unanimous ruling, seven judges said the searches could cause “humiliation and embarrassment” and breached the complainants’ right to respect for their private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Journalist Pennie Quinton, 38, and protestor Kevin Gillan, 32, brought the case to the European court after being stopped and searched by police in September 2003 on their way to a demonstration near an arms fair held in east London.
Quinton, who is a journalist, was ordered to stop filming in spite of the fact that she showed her press card, and Gillan was wearing a rucksack and riding a bicycle when he was stopped on his way to the demonstration.
Between 2004 and 2008 the number of searches recorded by the Ministry of Justice went from around 33,000 to over 117,000, it said.