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Police to suspend controversial stop-and-search powers

Category: Northern Ireland

Published: 7th Jul 2010 21:43:20

Police in Northern Ireland are expected to announce a halt to controversial "stop and search" powers.

The PSNI is to suspend the use of the powers which allowed them to search people suspected of being involved in terrorist activity.

There had been complaints that the police were over using the powers, sometimes by more then 100 times a day.

Last year, police tripled their use of stop-and-search following an increase in dissident republican attacks.

In 2008/9, the PSNI used the anti-terror legislation almost 10,000 times, compared to 3,234 incidents in 2007/8, according to Policing Board figures.

On Thursday, Home Secretary Theresa May is expected to say that she is suspending the use of the stop-and-search powers following a European Court ruling last week.

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the home secretary to authorise police officers to make random searches in certain circumstances.

However, the legislation was challenged by a journalist and an anti-war protestor who were stopped by officers near a London arms fair in 2003.

In Strasbourg in January, the European Court of Human Rights said the pair's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

The court also ruled that the UK's stop-and-search powers were "not sufficiently circumscribed" and there were not "adequate legal safeguards against abuse".

It concluded that "the risks of the discriminatory use of the powers" were "a very real consideration".

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights decided the government could not appeal against the January ruling. The court has insisted it cannot be challenged on it.

Source:
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BBC News, 2010. Police to suspend controversial stop-and-search powers [Online] (Updated 7th Jul 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/73307/Police-to-suspend-controversial-stop-and-search-powers [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

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