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back to article Stop'n'search gets touchy-feely

Feeling unsafe in your life? Looking for reassurance? The Metropolitan Police Service can help you with a touchy-feely new innovation. It's called stop and search. A new document hints at a shift of emphasis in the Met's strategic vision for counter terrorism stop and search powers. It's going to be a public relations tool. …

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Anonymous Coward

WELL?

ARE YOU AFRAID YET? CAN'T YOU SEE THAT THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN EVER BE SAFE IS TO DO EXACTLY AS WE TELL YOU?

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Anonymous Coward

Function Creep

So (as with all controversial legislation) the purpose of stop & search for anti-terroristic purposes has shifted its goalposts. Does this mean that it hasn't been a useful tool for stopping terrorists, but it gives carte blanche to stop people at random (which I suspect is a power the police would like countrywide)?

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Anonymous Coward

We'll never be safe unless

the police are allowed to waste anyone they don't like the look of. As George Bush might say, this way, criminals will either give up criminaling, or leave my country.

I say bring back Dirty Harry, and return the rights of the police to baton charge lefties until they shut up.

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Alert

Bloody great!

So, if you're stopped and there are no reasonable grounds for a search, the officer just decides that he'll use the "I can search anybody I bloody well like" powers and searches you anyway. And on top of that, neither kind of search is any good at deterring terrorists so it's a waste of everyone's time.

Fan-bloody-tastic! Please can we vote out the bunch of cretins that are in charge and replace them, and all the civil servants and senior police officers, with people who have enough sense to grasp why this doesn't work!

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Flame

Trust me, it won't hurt a bit

So coming to London I can be stopped and searched for no reason other than to... make the locals feel better? Can't they just set up a classic hunt every now and then, where people can join in with pitchforks and torches? That would also strengthen the feelings of community and belonging, maybe along with some nice singing? One could also gather unwholesome literature and the belongings of the arrested in the streets for a comfy bonfire... hold on, I've seen this before...

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Pirate

All sorts of implications...

"There's an implicit admission that Section 44 stops and searches do not detect terrorists." And in the same passage that they do not find terrorist items, either.

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Pirate

RE: WELL?

Having been stopped and searched twice since the July 5th Tube bombing, and each time courteously informed by the plods involved that I was being stopped and searched under the authority given by the Terrorism Act 2000, I can actually say it did make me feel a bit reassured. The first occaission was at 2am down by Parliament Square, the second was down on the Embankment and again at an early hour, so the first probably did have a reasonable excuse but the second was probably more of a fishing exercise. Having said that, I lost about ten minutes of my life, less than the average party political broadcast and a lot more reassuring. On both occaisions the Policemen involved were polite and efficient and didn't feel the need to complain. Maybe that's because, unlike you, I'm not given to paranoid delusions of a police state.

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Anonymous Coward

What is the real purpose of the law?

This is complete bollox. If they have a good reason to search you then they conduct a section 44 search, if they don't, they still search you but under section 43.

So in fact, the police don't need any kind of reason to stop and search you. And if I'm carrying something 'sensitive' in my rucksack, which is personal to me and my ladyfriend why should I have to go through the humiliation of having the contents of my rucksack emptied out, peered through?

Stop and search doesn't detect terrorism, and it's hardly likely to deter terrorists or even less likely to interfere with terrorist operations, why? Because there's millions of people in London and a handful of terrorists out on a mission... the chance of finding those 4 or 5 people out of 6 million on the day they want to place a bomb is so incredibly small it's not even worth thinking about.

So, the question is, what is the real purpose of stop and search?

It's about re-assuring the public? Surely the public can only feel re-assured if the stop and search action is proven to be effective in preventing terrorism? If it is not effective then it's a useless exercise and why should people feel re-assurred when they know the action is ineffective?

Not to mention that it's one of the most widely abused laws we have on the statute, it was intended for the prevention of terrorism and now it's used to harass demonstrators on perfectly lawful demos. It doesn't make me feel more re-assurred, what it does is cause me great concern about which direction the country is moving in and the stalinist policies being adopted.

So I ask again, what is the real purpose of the law?

It seems as if it exists just to give the cops something to do!

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Anonymous Coward

@ Matt Bryant

u can't b serious but ur humor is beyond my feeble understanding.

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Alert

Reading a 9 on the bs-o-meter, sir...

"Explain to the person being stopped that they are being stopped as part of the operation to reduce the risk of terrorism in London. Reassure the individual that the stop is a routine part of counter-terrorist policing and it is a preventative power proven to help make London safer from a terrorist attack."

Then explain to the person being stopped that the Section 44 stop and search goes on their record for the rest of their life and may affect any present or future employment when their records are search for criminal activity and they are found to have been "investigated" as a potential terrorist subject.

Reassuring.

-- Richard

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Boffin

Section 43 ...

43) A constable may stop and search a person whom he *reasonably suspects* to be a terrorist to discover whether he has in his possession anything which may constitute evidence that he is a terrorist.

This, combined with the quarter percent figure does tend to suggest that the police are either a) bloody crap at the whole 'reasonable suspicion' thing or b) taking the Mickey somewhat.

Personally, I'm going with b) - let's face it, it's a license to hassle people that cops 'don't like the look of'

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PR exercise?

How does stopping and searching thousands of innocent people, inducing annoyance, antagonism, and possibly a little bit of fear in them (it would scare me!), work as a POSITIVE public relations move exactly??

"Wow, the police are uselessly wasting mine and many others' time - I love you Mr. Plod!"

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Pirate

Feel The Fear....

...and do IT anyway...

;)

Um, anyway... what these bafoons are doing is basically securing their jobs. They can't actually make an impact on terrorism with these new laws... And in any case, these new laws came about because of the new terrorist threat. But the only thing even slightly new about terrorism these days is that it's not from the Irish Nationalists. People have very short memories, and even shorter tempers... Anyone over 25 has got to remember the IRA and fear of bombings from that group.

New Labour, old stasi in the clothing of gentlemen. It Makes Me Sick that 1st worl d leaders are turning into a bunch of managers, dishing out fear and then saying they'll be the ones to save us. Trust me I'm a a Labour Government... It's wrong.

Pirate Flag, as that's what the New Labour flag ought to be...

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FUD

"Reassure the individual that the stop is a routine part of counter-terrorist policing and it is a preventative power proven to help make London safer from a terrorist attack."

Translation: Be afraid. Be VERY afraid! Only by letting us search anyone we want, anywhere we want, any time we want will we be able to protect you from the <s>bogeyman</s> evil terrorists! You must trust us, if you don't, you're probably a terrorist because you've got something to hide...

PS @ Matt Bryant, It is interesting to see you consider it to be "reassuring" that you can be stopped and searched for "walking suspiciously in a public area late at night". Just think, how many other people out at that time could *also* be possible terrorists, so it's a good idea for a bored copper to be able to stop and search you "just in case"!

But why is this "reassuring"? Could it be that you have paranoid delusions of a terrorist on every street corner...?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Matt Bryant

Was it because you is.....?

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Anonymous Coward

@Matt Bryant

Your feelings of re-assurance must be on the basis that you feel that the stop and search is effective, if you knew it not to be effective you would not be reassured. Now to enlighten you.

Stop and search is not effective - by the Met. Police's own admission at detecting terrorism, it's not likely to deter. So your feeling of being reassurred is based on an incorrect belief that it's effective.

This is the only way that being reassured by stop and search can work, on the basis that the public incorrectly believes it is effective.

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Coat

@ Matt Bryant

You were down by Parliament Square that place where you used to be able to go and protest whenever you felt like it and now have to go down the police station before hand and fill out some forms before they ALLOW you to go protest and if you dont have the forms you are quickly arrested for your trouble. No wonder they pulled you to one side and started asking you questions.

And the second time they were 'fishing', or maybe just bored and needed to waste some time preferably yours. Because whats the point of have power if you cant shove it in the faces of those who dont have it at every opportunity.

You can call whomever you like paranoid but the only person you can call deluded here is you, if you seriously dont believe or see that there is a trend to remove civil rights from the people while at the same time increasing the powers of the police force and producing more laws often for reason that are not only unpopular but serve no real solutions to problems that may or may not really exist.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

*\. Searching my coat, just because I want to and there nothing you can do to stop me, unless you want to bad guys to come get you in the middle of the night and eat your children.

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Stop

@Matt Bryant

You don't have to be having paraniod delusions to feel as though you are living in a police state.

The ones with the delusions are the "Nothing to hide; nothing to fear" crowd.

STOP - because thats what the plods want to do to all of us.

Anonymous because I *might* be paraniod, but I'm not totally stupid.

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Stop

RE: WELL?

RE: WELL?

The whole point of this is to provide an uncertain environment for terrorists. If you feel afraid to be here, then its working. Innit.

Saying that though - as part of my work I dis-assemble computers and my Gerber Scout, with its attached knife, is very handy at that so I usually have it on me in my rucksack. Considering thanks to the stupid wording in OTHER laws this is technically a weapon, seeing the police stopping people outside Tower Hill tube station this morning pissed me off somewhat.

RE: Trust me, it won't hurt a bit

We do this already - it's called the London Chav Hunts, but we are alot more secretive about it. Don't want the Chavs finding out or else they might be prepared for it and hide.

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Happy

Police state foiled by British politeness

I was stopped and searched twice around railway stations in Scotland; that's because the only police force up here who use these powers is the BTP.

On both occasions I was told that if I was rushing for a train I could just go, but if I had 5 minutes to spare could I answer some questions...

I'm *reasonably* sure that no terrorists or terror-related items were found.

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RE: Matt Bryant

so this would be the same Matt as found here http://www.connectpa.co.uk/people/peopleprofile.php?id=48

I do wonder about the bias of pieces written by people paid to change opinions

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Anonymous Coward

@Matt Bryant - paranoid delusions of a police state

To suggest someone who is concerned about the police stop and search powers is given to paranoid delusions of a police state is a rather naeve statement on your part.

Since the Labour government came to power over 3000 new criminal offences have been created, - has society really got that bad it needs so many new parts of legislation put on the statute?

We've had the government trying to exclude themselves under FOIA, we've got RIPA which is already being misused, the terrorism act has been misused for years - misused in that it is being used for purposes which were not covered in the original scope statement.

We've got Wacky Jacky trying to pass ineffective legislation to do with extended detention of alledgedly terrorists, various databases being created by the back door without any consent of the british people.

If you can't see that quite plainly we are heading for a police state where our every move, action is monitored by the Police and government then you must have had your head in the sand for the last 8 years.

A healthy bit of paranoia as you refer to it, is a good thing.

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Black Helicopters

PC or not PC. That is the question.

1. Previous stop-and-search campaigns have drawn the accusation of being racist and targeting one ethnic group more than any other.

2. Demographically speaking the majority of contemporary terrorists have come from a few ethnic groups.

3. In order not to be accused of racism they'll need to therefore stop and search more white people.

4. As 'Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells' is usually white there's bound to be a middle-class backlash.

5. Repeat ad nauseam.

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Paris Hilton

@Matt Bryant

I for one welcome our new Stop And Search Overlords. I welcome the opportunity to be stopped and searched at any time. This is the only way to stop these devious foreign looking terrorists from planting bombs and killing innocent children.

Doesn't anyone care about the children!!

** Paris - because she knows when she is getting shafted.

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@ RE: Matt Bryant

Cheers for digging, that's hilarious.

I hope it's not the same Matt Bryant, I'm sure he should be doing something better as a public servant during working hours!

Fucking astroturfers.

Anyway, now he's been outed, I reckon he'll post anon. Like I just did.

(Because i've got work to do and could be more arsed I guess.)

/NelsonMuntz

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RE: Matt Bryant

> I do wonder about the bias of pieces written by people paid to change opinions

In Stalinist Britain payment isn't necessary - threats, harassment and torture (particularly of loved ones) serve to encourage sympathetic co-operation with the regime.

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Stop

London Bombings.

I was working in London around the time of the tube bombings, the police presence at the time was crazy. I seem to recall coppers walking around public areas in London wielding semi automatics and harassing people with backpacks. I seem to recall the police murdering a suspected terrorist.

At some point I had an opportunity to ask a copper what the point to the police presence was, either on my way to work or on my way home.

Their answer was "To reassure the public."

I'm afraid I do not find coppers walking around with semi automatic weapons very reassuring, especially as such weapons are quite useless in a crowded area against a suicide bomber.

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Anonymous Coward

I've been 44'd

while quietly sitting having my lunch in a park on Victoria Embankment. All thoroughly explained by two very reasonable coppers who, unsurprisingly, found nothing of any interest. I was rather left with the impression that the main point of the exercise was to get more young white men like me onto the S&S statistics

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Happy

RE: ooFie@rentaquote.com

Oooh, a Benjie Franklin thrown in! Always fun when a "non-conformist" liberal starts quoting American Republicans, the people they seem happy to despise the most. Bit ho-hum, really, couldn't you have at least gone with something a bit more original, less well-worn, like maybe some Thomas Paine? "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." That would also manage to accuse the Police and our Government of a tyrannical process, and maybe read a bit less like a dope-adled rant at IndyMedia. Or maybe you could highlight their human limitations with some John Adams; "It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power."

I could counter with some James Madison; "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." But my fave is still the rather more unknown Wayne LaPierre, as quoting someone from the NRA always gets up the nose of paranoid liberals like yourself; "Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we've got to keep generating it or the lights go out."

The funniest part of the first search I had was they found the signed copy of the OSA I had in my bag from the contract I had been doing at the MoD at the time. That did make me chuckle! Maybe you'd chuckle more too if you dumped the paranoia and realised not all coppers are psychopathic fascists just looking for an excuse to beat people. After all, they're only human too.

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Paris Hilton

Can I stop and search a WPC?

Inquiring hands want to know.

After all, they could be terrorists in disguise: I *know* that they are actors on "The Bill", but they *look* like genuine police officers. I need to check to make sure they aren't pretend officers...

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Silver badge

Clarification needed, please.

"Then explain to the person being stopped that the Section 44 stop and search goes on their record for the rest of their life and may affect any present or future employment when their records are search for criminal activity and they are found to have been "investigated" as a potential terrorist subject." ... By Richard Posted Monday 26th January 2009 13:08 GMT

Err ..... Is that "a 9 on the bs-o-meter, sir... " or is that info about the speculative search being recorded, true? Can anyone give a definitive correct answer, please?

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Happy

RE: RE: Matt Bryant

"so this would be the same Matt as found here http://www.connectpa.co.uk/people/peopleprofile.php?id=48...." Erm, no. I mean, is there any way you'd mistake thay guy for a 14-year-old as the Sunshiners did me recently, when they accused me of working for hp just because I posted some anti-Sun musings? Face it - just because someone doesn't agree with you it doesn't mean they are part of some big conspiracy to take away all your rights. If you had looked a bit deeper into my previous posts you would have soon realised I don't have many (if any) kind words for the Labour Party or anyone associated with it. It's a pretty common name - get over it! Lossen up your tinfoil cap, go look up the definition of paranoid, then look at what you wrote and reconsider.

FULL DISCLOSURE (for the paranoid) - I do not and have never worked for any political party, nor have I ever contributed to any, and I have always voted Conservative (I know, you probably guessed that), though I once did hand out CND leaflets as a stoodie because I was trying to get a little action with one of their female members (it didn't last, she snored).

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Coat

re: Section 43 ...

Nah, they're all pooftahs and they want a guddle at my linford.

That's them, caught on night vision green-screen...

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Alert

@ Re; Matt Bryant

Nah!

you'd have to be a complete TOOL to come onto a forum like this if you *were* THAT Matt Bryant and not have the sense to change your username

Unless you're being paid by the word / post.

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Black Helicopters

Thatcher's Briain all over again...

...here comes the return of the Suss Laws?

"Black with white, stop on sight" as the Met used to say.

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@ PR excercise

'How does stopping and searching thousands of innocent people, inducing annoyance, antagonism, and possibly a little bit of fear in them (it would scare me!), work as a POSITIVE public relations move exactly??'

Because they will be thousands of BROWN people. And seeing the police stop and search thousands of brown people makes Daiy Mail readers feel far more safe and secure. Obviously they would prefer that the police just rounded them up and took them to special camps, but one step at a time.

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Paris Hilton

"3000 new criminal offences"

Heck, can anyone say what they all are?

No?

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Boffin

Innocent!!!

Being innocent doesn't mean you have nothing to fear. Does anybody remember John Stalker.

and what happened to him.

A high ranking copper who got caught up in the dirty war in northern Ireland.

I leave the rest to google & wikipedia.

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@Matt Bryant

> I can actually say it did make me feel a bit reassured. The first occaission was at 2am down by Parliament Square...

Nothing much happening on Hampstead Heath that night then? What a relief it must have been to find a nice policeman. So was it the hands down your trousers, or the gloved hand up your arse in particular that made you feel your bit reassured? How about you tell us what would make you feel completely reassured - would you like to be reassured for example by the entire Met every night?

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Happy

@ Was it because you is.....?

...a Twat?

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Pirate

A NEUKlearer Presence and No dDanger

In an oppressive Police State, there is a very real danger of creating Urban No-Go Areas and Centres of Para-Militarism Creating a Civilian Expeditionary WwworkForce . ..... http://cryptome.org/dodi/dodd-1404-10.pdf

Black Watch Northern IreLand XXXXPertEase Territory? Or United Irishmen @ITWorks via Holywood Vaio ..... Virtual Advanced IntelAIgents Operations. {posted earlier here,in There is a House in New Orleans they call .....

By amanfromMars

Posted Sunday 25th January 2009 15:44 GMT ..... http://reghardware.co.uk/2009/01/24/video_sony_netbook_hands_on/comments ]

Pimpernels 42 Assist Apache Renegades ...... and Free Spirits. Private XXXXPirates

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, I thought this was a Register comments page

not Speek Ure Branez. My mistake

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Stopped in Boston

We have "random" bag searches for the Boston (US obviously). About a month ago I was "randomly" stopped. The transit cop could see I was upset and assured me that this was for my safety. They were quick and efficient in their search. I tried to be friendly about it but I had to note that there many other things they could be doing to keep me safe.

While I understand the liberty based arguments I have a much more practical view of the matter. There are just much more effective and useful ways to spend time and money then hoping to stop an extremely rare event. In the day in question this obviously true and why I was so upset with my search. You see, it had snowed that day and was extremely slippery around the entrance to the subway. I was angry because no one had cleared the snow and a 50-something had just fallen as I had entered. "Stopping Terrorism" is really about laziness in so many ways.

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Anonymous Coward

decent job

My 16 old kid was stopped and searched and then detained for "possessing tools of terrorism".

The tools of terrorism were a marker and a can of blue paint. This was two years ago, and I had the stop&search pink slip framed and hanged in my study. This incident led the kid to a greater reassurance in the Met - last time he was stooped & searched he was also detained for telling the coppers to "get a life and look for a fucin' decent job"

I believe that the problem is that as nice Jewish boy he's a bit darker then what the Met consider to be legal.

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Stop

Is it National Big Brother Day?

What the ???? ... hang on, is it just National Big Brother Day and we all just didn't get the memo!

This is the 3rd Big Brother move story today! ... Are they in a hurry or something!?!

Then again, its not as if they will be out of power any time soon. (This bunch of NuLabour control freaks can cling to power for at least another year, while they work ever harder at making a mess of the country. Worst still the next election must be held on or before Thursday 3 June 2010! ... so 16 months at worst case! ... so imagine what more they can mess up in that time!).

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Silver badge

Dear Londoners,

This is just to protect you. If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing to fear. Unless you're in a hurry, in which case you might miss your appointment. Also, if you have a vibrator in your handbag and don't want the surrounding crowd to know about it, don't go out. Avoid the streets if you are of African, Indian or Middle-Eastern descent (or Brazillian, for that matters). Also, don't "look funny". That is all. And remember: it's for your own good. If it can allow for one single terrist to be stopped (which it won't), isn't it worth? Be Vigilant!

Also, if I may engage in a bit of irony, is that the same country which took great pride in *not* being afraid of the IRA? Now giving up on all its civil rights for fear of a bloody imaginary islamist bomber threat? Ha-ha.

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Pirate

RE: @ PR excercise and Luther Blissett

RE: @ PR excercise

Sorry, I'm a employed male Caucassian between the ages of 25 and 50, so I think I'm actually from the silent majority rather than some "persecuted" minority. So my being stop-and-searched twice under the TA would seem to collpase your rather foundationless argument. Or are you going to say it was just the sneaky coppers getting in a few whities on the record to balance out the stats? Does it help you to assume all coppers are racists, make it easier for you to conclude that institutional racism is the reason the majority of the recent terrorist activities in the UK have been conducted by Muslims of Asian origin? Or that in London black-on-black teenager gun violence is twelve times as common as white-on-white teenager, that's just becasue the racist coppers slant the figures, right? Do you even have the ability to look beyond your myopic prejudices? I bet you didn't get on your hobby-horse and scream blue-murder when the coppers stated that the majority of burglaries in London were commited by whites.

RE: Luther Blissett

Thankyou for your reasoned and erudite post, it really added to the discussion and marked you as a person of both intellect and eloquence. Whilst it is highly likely that there are gay male members of the Met I wouldn't be so vain as to assume (pun unintended) they would automatically have any interest in my prosterior. And, whilst I might be interested in pursuing other forms of sexual gratification with any fit female members of the Met, I think my wife would be more than a little opposed to the idea. But then you are obviously much more au fait with Hampstead Heath and the predatory nature of gay Policemen than myself. However, on neither occaission when I was stopped was a rubber glove resorted to, probably because I believe that actually requires reasonable cause, a separate warrant and a doctor (of course, I shall accept your superior experience of anal molestation if I am wrong on that point). In the meantime, I look forward to your future posts with the same fatalistic curiosity as a scientist researching the effects of ingested castor oil on dogs.

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Paris Hilton

re: Dear Londoners,

"Also, if I may engage in a bit of irony, is that the same country which took great pride in *not* being afraid of the IRA? Now giving up on all its civil rights for fear of a bloody imaginary islamist bomber threat? Ha-ha."

Yup it still is.

It's just that there are a few nutjobs that are scared that Somebody Else is Out To Get Them. The government are pushing this fear for all they're worth and the media is lapping it up (a bad story is easier to write than a good one).

So it *looks* like the British have turned in to a bunch of nancy gay-boys, scared of the bogeyman.

But 90% of the public are still the same.

It's just that whereas before the papers put stories about the stoic 90% they now go on about the chicken little panicking 10%.

People haven't changed, just who gets the headlines.

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Anonymous Coward

@Matt Bryant

... I guess some people just need to be looked after. You probably enjoyed being searched. Did it really make you feel safer? You mean you personally actually feel threatened by "terrorists"? Wow.

Clearly their bullshit washes with you. I bet you watch Spooks. Go on, admit it. You think it's really exciting. Bet you just love unbiased and really gritty investigative news like the have on the BBC too - is that where you learn all about the World? Sir John Reith would spin in his grave! So much for `inform and educate!"

You really should get out more. Actually no, probably not safe, best stay in, where you can bathe in the dim light cast by your Idiot Lantern.

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Paris Hilton

Dreamland

"and in doing so will install trust and confidence of all communities"

Funny this, because I don't think I know anyone who does not resent or distrust the police a little bit more as a result of their arbitrary interruption of lawful activity. Cossbreeding institutional stupidity with PR centric policymaking is a recipe for distrust.

Paris, at least she's only dumb

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