Two officers brand a s44 stop-and-search form for photographing a London Wall building. © Grant Smith
Less than 2 months after the repeal of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, the coalition government has introduced a section similar in all but name. Section 47a gives a senior police officer an authorisation to stop and search if the officer ‘…reasonably suspects that an act of terrorism will take place.’ This is marginally different from Section 44 in that there must now be a reasonable suspicion that an act of terrorism will take place, previously no reasonable grounds were required.
What is quite apparent in the application of the remedial power is that stop-and-search is still being deployed as a preventative measure against terrorism. This is despite the fact that no stop-and-search detentions under Section 44 resulted in any terrorist prosecutions. Lord Carlile, the government’s independent review of terrorism legislation, has stated that stop-and-search without suspicion was unjustifiable and had produced nil results in terrorism terms.
As photographers working in public places, we are still treated with a suspicion that is undeserved and not experienced by most citizens going about their daily task of work.
Article Written by Grant Smith
Motion passed at LPB Branch Meeting 29/03/2011
This Branch is greatly concerned by the introduction of the emergency stop and search power Section 47A of the Terrorism Act 2000.
This Branch agrees that police stop and search powers that do not require suspicion of an individual have and can impact on journalists right to report and record events.
Proposed by Marc Vallée, Seconded by Jonathan Warren – passed overwhelmingly by London Photographers’ branch members.