Articles

More non-terrorism terrorism statistics

In Uncategorized on Tuesday 15th June, 2010 by Guy

The Home Office has released the latest set of statistics about policing of terrorism-related offences. It seems that this is now going to be a regular series, starting with the report I analysed in February. This latest one updates the figures to the end of 2009.

With regard to the previously outrageous numbers of Section 44 stopsandsearches, I'm pleased to say that the number in the last quarter of 2009 continues the downward trend since the last quarter of 2008 when over 70,000 stops and searches were made, reaching the still incredible 20,906 instead. Over 17,000 of those are still done by the Metropolitan Police Service, while the whole of Scotland got by on 7 (down from 52 a year earlier). This only makes it clearer how unjustified the earlier zealotry was, and I wait with minty-baited breath for some acknowledgement of that. 

Joining the likes of Hampshire and South Wales police forces who in our previous instalment somehow managed to stop their stopandsearches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, is the Cumbria Constabulary. [Point of order chaps and chapesses: If I'm going to http://cumbria.police.uk with my web browser, show me a website, or at least quietly redirect me to http://www.cumbria.police.uk. Thanks.] Despite carrying out 121 stopsandsearches during the first half of 2009, all the terrorists and innocent photographers must have gone elsewhere, because the good constables winded down their activities to only 7 stopsandsearches in the third quarter of 2009, before admitting defeat and not stoppingandsearching anyone by the last quarter. Well done Cumbria!

Overall the number of stopsandsearches in the UK reduced 40% from 2008 to 2009. This *must* mean that they did their job! Or that they shouldn't have happened to start with. Again, a good analysis of this would be most welcome… Although the admission in the latest report that "Recent data now being collected suggests that very few arrests result for terrorist related offences" doesn't bode well.

Despite the European Court of Human Rights stating that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was illegal under the UK's human rights obligations about 6 months ago, the police was recently still harassing innocent photographers under this law, and it is only within the last few days that a review of the law has been ordered by the Home Office under the new Government. But not because of the ECHR ruling! No, it's because it wasn't even used correctly by the police despite the very basic checks on the use of the law being minimal (viz. a senior officer authorising the stopsandsearches for 28 days at a time [Section 46(3)] and the Secretary of State okaying this within 48 hours [Section 46(4)]). 

*sigh*…
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