Advice concerning photographers? rights if they are stopped under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been outlined by lawyers representing civil rights lobby group Liberty.
AP recently alerted Liberty to a growing number of reports of photographers being stopped while taking pictures in public places.
The group responded by telling us that it believes police overuse the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop and search members of the public (see News AP 29 March).
Liberty warns that anyone can be stopped and searched by an officer, whether or not the police have a reason for suspecting they are carrying articles that could be used in connection with terrorism.
Liberty adds that if photographers feel that police have abused their powers
then they may be able to make an official complaint and sue the police.
Liberty?s legal advice
? If the officer searching explains that it is being done under Terrorism laws, he does not have to give a reason why he suspected you
? Allow the officer to search you. Obstruction could lead to a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to six months
? Ask for and keep a written record of the search. It may be useful evidence
? If you are charged with an offence, but you believe that the search was not carried out properly, inform your solicitor. It might mean that any evidence the police have found cannot be used against you
? To make a formal complaint, speak to your local police station or Citizens Advice Bureau