Conservatives tell photographers: We will end stop and search ‘abuse’ (update)

April 15, 2010

A Conservative government would end police misuse of controversial stop-and search powers that have hit many innocent photographers, Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

The pledge follows a call made by Amateur Photographer magazine to Conservative Central Office this morning.

It comes as new figures show that police use of the controversial Section 44 stop-and-search power jumped 66% in 2008/2009, compared with a year earlier.

In a statement the Conservative Party said: ‘Many people, particularly amateur photographers, have said that the Government has allowed the police to misuse counter-terror powers to target innocent tourists and bystanders.’

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling (pictured below) added: ‘Gordon Brown and Labour have trampled our civil liberties for far too long. Whether they’re trying to impose ID cards, or allowing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to be stopped and searched under Terrorism powers, they always seem to think the state knows best.

‘We can’t go on like this. Conservatives will end the abuse of stop-and-search as part of a full review of all Labour’s counter-terrorism laws.’

Architectural photographer Grant Smith, who was stopped and searched while taking photos for a project on churches last year, told us: ‘This statement is very welcome. The figures released on Section 44 show the inefficiency of stop and search on photographers and image makers. However, we must be cautious with any election pledge, and not assume this will be enacted in law. Perhaps this will prompt a reaction from the ruling party that has brought in this legislation.’

In a meeting with Amateur Photographer magazine last month, the government once again attempted to reassure photographers that they are not being ‘targeted’ by police officers under anti-terrorism stop and search powers.

And the government’s terrorism watchdog, Lord Carlile, recently confirmed to Amateur Photographer that he has called for Section 44 of the Terrorism Act to be abolished.

At the time of writing the Liberal Democrats had yet to outline their policy on this issue.

NEWS UPDATE 16 APRIL: Lib Debs issue policy pledge to photographers


Chris Grayling

Picture: Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling

Photo credit: Andrew Parsons


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