Police stop and search powers changed

Individuals can now only be searched if suspected to be a terrorist.

The government is changing how stop and search powers are used with immediate effect, after it was found to be a violation of the right to a private life.

Officers can now only search an individual under section 43 powers of the Terrorism Act 2000, if they reasonably suspect the person to be a terrorist and although they may search only vehicles under section 44, it is only have reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity.

The move is in response to a decision by the European Court of Human Rights, in the use of stop and search powers under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The court said the powers were drawn too broadly, at the time of their initial authorisation and when they are used, and did not have enough safeguards to protect civil liberties.

This means that the laws setting out the use of stop and search powers had then to be repealed or amended to bring them in line with European law.

The changes will bring the operation of counter-terrorism use of stop and search powers fully into line with the European Court’s judgment, while also ensuring that the public are protected.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "I will not allow the continued use of section 44 in contravention of the European Court’s ruling and, more importantly, in contravention of the civil liberties of every one of us."

"The first duty of government is to protect the public. But that duty must never be used as a reason to ride roughshod over our civil liberties."

Further information:

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