Stop and search – guns guards and gates

Gradually the Coalition government is restoring our lost liberties. They moved quickly to get rid of compulsory ID cards. Yesterday Mrs May announced the end to using counter terrorism powers to stop and search anyone without grounds to believe they could be a terrorist.

One of the worst features of the last government was the build up of the surveillance state, turning the cameras and state power against the innocent majority whilst claiming this was the way to catch the tiny minority who might be up to no good.

I raised the issue with the Prime Minister of the over use of guns, guards and gates in public buildings. These methods are unlikely to be effective against a determined opponent, as we have seen at the Commons. They just coarsen public life in an unpleasant way, and need to be changed.

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13 Comments

  1. christina sarginson
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I am pleased that lost liberties is on the agenda I was very concerned that the equaltiy and diversity agenda was under threat but last week I was heartened to see that Theresa May spoke out and told everyone that the equality legislation was going ahead. This action is just the first of many I hope

    • John Hatch
      Posted July 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      The 'equality and diversity agenda' has been promoted by people who hate our traditional way of life and are bent on destroying it. Theresa May may be one of them; or just trying to suck up to them so she keeps in with the BBC etc.

    • Amanda
      Posted July 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      If you were talking about equality of opportunity, and diversity as the basis of innovation and freedom, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, this 'agenda', is stultifying equality of outcome (unobtainable and unfair), and diversity as the basis of division, disharmony and dislocation.

      Excellent quote by Ed West on The Telegraph blogs today in his reveiw of the modern 'communist' tract 'The Spirit Level'. Ed states “equality” – a goal that has dug more graves than all the gods in history combined".

  2. Jim
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    You do realise the police routinely use the 'reasonable suspicion of terrorism' line to harrass people all the time already? Such as photographers in public places? And elderly Labour Party activists?

    Surely there should be some test for what constitutes 'reasonable suspicion of terrorism' and if the police invoke it, and subsequently can't show any proof of it, they have to compensate the person they have searched or detained illegally?

    It might focus a few Chief Constable's minds on telling their PC plods to stop harassing people under Section 43 if everytime they did in with no real proof of any terrorist threat they got hauled through the courts and had to pay compensation. A couple of thousand per case should have the right effect.

  3. davidncl
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    @christina liberty and the "equaltiy and diversity agenda" are incompatable.

  4. nonny mouse
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The state allows iteself to take pictures of the public via CCTV, but does not allow the public to take pictures of it's officers. I can understand the logic around military bases, but not in our high streets.

    A better definition of a terroist act might help. Taking a photo in a public place or of the police is not going to hurt anybody, Carrying a weapon might.

    Presumably Theresa May will get to this in due coure. The effective repeal of section 44 is a good first step, even if it was a forced one.

  5. Martyn
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I doubt that the change will make any real difference, other than that the police will trot out another 'I suspect that you may be carrying something illegal'.
    They need no other excuse than that and it is covered by existing Law for them to do so.
    Am I alone in recalling the the arguments and public disquiet several decades ago about the use of the 'Sus' law? Seems to me that nothing has changed, nor is it likely to do so in the present climate.

  6. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I thought the Police always had the right to stop anyone, for any reason, provided they had reasonable suspicion.

    Like many Laws introduced by Parliament, its duplication with modification on duplication with modification, instead of using good old commonsense.

    Many a crime has been cleared up after following a gut feeling.

    Think the Police may welcome a reduction in the number of Laws as well, as its now over complicated legislation.

  7. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Down here in Cornwall, the local CCTV network is under question. It costs over £800k a year and the main users, the police, do not pay anything for it. If they did pay for it, it would still come from the council taxpayers. But with council tax frozen for a couple of years they might have problems. How nice to see various bits of the bureaucracy fighting like rats in a sack. Let's hope there is lots more to come.

  8. Mark
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Those who supported Section 44 are blind to statistics and probability. For a provision that was designed to catch terrorists, it has failed utterly, because despite 220,000 Sec 44 stops in 2009, not one terrorist was apprehended in consequence. The probability of intercepting a terrorist via random search is vanishingly small: to increase the probability usefully, search would have to be continuous and pervasive, with every citizen being searched several times daily. Of course, the queues for search stations would provide ideal terrorist targets.

  9. Derek Buxton
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I am afraid the rate of change is far too slow. Good to know the I/D card scam is to be scrapped. A problem with the police is that (words left out-ed) ACPO, which appears to be a Limited Company, receiving government money to lobby for it's own benefit. As such it cannot be considered impartial and can be see to act against the interests of the British people in many respects. Basically it is a trade union as is the Muslim Police association and the gay police association. These should not exist in a properly organised police service.

  10. adam
    Posted July 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I notice you preface ID cards with 'compulsory'
    ID cards wont be compulsory the same way having a bank account isn't compulsory. At least for a few years.

    Liar party claimed to have abolished ID cards at least twice. Both times it was a lie. Part of a sick psychological manipulation of the general public. The coalition claims to be getting rid of them. A complete lie like everything else they do.

    Deploying the military to 'hunt' Raoul Moat is really a sign of liberty and freedom.
    What are you lot gonna do if one of those SAS snipers shoots the wrong person?
    Presumably cover it up ( allegation left out)

    Reply: It is good news that no bystander has been shot in the conclusion of this tragedy.

  11. George
    Posted July 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Our liberties are so important to us. We must be promoting equality and diversity as much as we can and combat any corrossion of civil liberties.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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