Police will normally need to have reasonable grounds for suspicion before they stop and search someone using anti-terrorism legislation, under new proposals outlined today.
The move follows a review of Stop and Search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act amid widespread criticism of officers’ use of the anti-terror law.
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act gives police officers the right to stop and search an individual ? and confiscate an article ? whether or not there are grounds to suspect a connection with terrorism, provided prior authority has been obtained.
In a scheme to be piloted in four London boroughs from this month, police officers will be told to use Section 43 of the Act which requires them to have reasonable grounds that a person is involved in a terrorist activity, before stopping them.
However, police will still have the power to use Section 44 at certain strategically important or iconic sites in London.
And it will be still be used on a ‘prevent and deter’ basis, via a specific directive, though police authorities will be told to use this power ‘sparingly’.
The project will be trialled in the London boroughs of Newham, Brent, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. The plans are expected to be rolled out across London from the summer.
The proposals are contained in a document published today by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), a summary of which is available on the MPA website.
Earlier today we revealed a Home Office minister’s plan to remind officers of their powers under Section 44, relating to photographers.