Feeds

back to article Home Office, EHRC rap top cop knuckles

The age-old dilemma of whether the police need more powers in order to carry out their job effectively was back in the public arena this week. First, there was the publication of advice to police chiefs by Home Office Minister David Hanson warning in no uncertain terms that police over-enthusiasm to use Terror laws to clamp down …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
WTF?

As an Asian Photographer . . .

As usual I think the Country is going PC nuts. I'm always out and about with my camera. Admitidly I have not yet been stopped by the the police for taking photographs in public places.

I am well aware of my rights and would promptly remind any mis-guided police officer of the laws around my photographic rights and question why I was being stopped/searched.

However, I think the "heavy handed" approach is far better then the soft approach that seems to be what this article is describing. As mis-guided and ignorant as the many members of the police force appear to be regarding their "powers", the approach they take could ultimately catch exactly those people that they are targeting. Although some of us may have to bear the inconvenience of being stopped as well.

I say let them carry on. We just need to be aware of our rights in the instance that we are incorrectly targeted. I know I am making these comments prior to any potential stop and search that I may have to endure (at that point maybe my mind may be changed!)

1
18
Go

Interesting concept.

"I am well aware of my rights and would promptly remind any mis-guided police officer of the laws around my photographic rights and question why I was being stopped/searched."

Let us know how it works out for you.

Every other example of people exercising their rights leads to a detainment on other, flimsy grounds - for instance, being too tall in the presence of a mini-she-plod...

13
0
Black Helicopters

Crown vs Hitesh

I am well aware of my rights and would promptly remind any mis-guided police officer of the laws around my photographic rights and question why I was being stopped/searched.

Hmm... I can see that working *really* well...

PC: The defendant asked why I had stopped him. When I replied he said that I was a 'misguided police officer'. He then started quoting his 'rights' and his own interpretation of the law at me.

Prosecution Lawyer: And what happened then?

PC: I arrested him for obstruction, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and breach of the peace.

Prosecution Lawyer: You say he quoted his 'own interpretation of the law' at you?

PC: Oh yes, I also nicked him for impersonating a police officer.

5
0

Cops can't bring charhes based on attitude.

Also in order for you to obstruct them they have be "carrying out their duty" if they have stopped you on frivolous grounds they are not doing that. For breech of the peace on has to be acting in a manner likely to cause someone to bash you, the police are going have a hard time saying 'I arrested him cos otherwise I'd have blacked his eyes for giving me cheek".

1
2
Thumb Down

Carry On

How many terrorists have been caught thanks to the new powers the police have?

<silence>

Really? That many? Our liberty has been a price worth paying then.

11
0
WTF?

We'll be sure to visit you in prison

After the Police have stopped you, clocked your attitude, decided you are a person of Interest and that the area is currently under the S44 / 58. They will then arrest you for the purpose of determining your identity, take you to the station, take your fingerprints and DNA. If you still have an attitude they will find something that you may or may not have done to bang you up for.

If you really have done nothing at all wrong then you have the most to fear because there is nothing the Police hate more than a truly innocent person that they may have to admit to an abuse of powers detaining. Trust me, they will fit you up for something, "You do not have the right to remain silent, anything you don't say will be inferred and used in evidence against you".

If they really can't find anything legitimate to bang you up for they will just use "National Security" as the cloak so that you cannot even have a jury of your peers as they wouldn't be allowed to hear the evidence, oh and of course they can hint at anything they want to the press whilst your "trial" goes on because the nobody will be allowed to tell the public the truth about you or the evidence against you, including you. Of course if this fails they can just slap you with a "control order" whilst they "find" some extreme porn on the computer they seized and searched 6 weeks ago to send you down for.

Just go and ask the French lad who got nicked for wearing a rucksack in a tube station and had to fight for years to clear his record after the police destroyed evidence, altered their own statements, hid behind national security and generally conspired to pervert the course of justice. The total penalty to the Police Oroficers involved? Absolutely nothing, the Police can break the law all they want with complete impunity.

4
0
Silver badge

Yet they do.

And quite a regular basis, too.

0
0
Megaphone

burst bubble

haha . . clearly the bubble I live in has been well and truely burst!

I'll certainly stand by my rights, but not to the extent that I would resist arrest?! I guess my experiences with the plod have been few and far between, others clearly have far more experience and I bow to their better judgement on the matter :)

0
0
Silver badge

When is a hole...

In Formula1 "motorsport" (given the last "race" I use inverted commas), every rule is pushed to the limits to provide a loophole (pun partially intended). They are allowed a hole in an under body structure to allow the starter probe to be inserted - one team has extended this hole to an oval shape which provides them with far greater downforce - a simple allowance for a specific reason that has been extended way beyond its intended purpose.*

This is what the police have been doing, and will continue to do. If they can't use s44 of the Anti-terror laws, they will use s43. Or s58. Or dog-fouling laws. Or whatever they can get away with. And the big problem is they get away with it. The government can say that the police should not do this, the EHRC can "rap top cop knuckles", the courts and justices and CRE can point out how lop-sided the searches are. But the police are not going to willing give up their new powers - no matter how much research points out how counter productive it it is - it would be like suggesting to someone with a Porsche that they change to a Trabant.

Unless something concrete happens - an officer being charged with rights abuses, a chief constable suspended pending an enquiry into his force, or similar, no matter what is said, the police will continue to stop minorities and harass photographers.

And there is little or nothing we can do about it - hell - the politicians and bureaucrats can't do anything so what can Joe Public do - start a Facebook petition?

And don't expect the election to help - remember the last paragraph of Animal Farm.

Eeeeh - nowt like a good rant after lunch to help the digestion

16
0

Enforced liberty

We must give the police more arbitrary powers to detain you to ensure your freedom.

1
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Insert obligatory....

... Vote Fascist for a Third Glorious Decade of Total Law Enforcement!

1
0
Silver badge

Those who don't know history...

The police were set up initially with pretty well every power in the book; all the restrictions put on them have been put there because the police abused those powers. So it makes very little sense to wonder if they need them back again as we already know the answer.

The police will ALWAYS ask for more powers and they will ALWAYS justify it as making it easier to catch criminals. Problem is, it usually boils down to arresting everyone and letting the courts sort out the resulting mess.

19
0
Anonymous Coward

Compounded...

...these days by the fact that few courts will rock the boat. Mr Plod says you're guilty, then you're guilty, unless you can afford the best in legal representation. Even legal aid is rarely forthcoming unless you make their lives easy by pleading guilty. The days of an independent, outspoken judicial system are long gone.

1
0
Big Brother

Passed to the courts?

"Problem is, it usually boils down to arresting everyone and letting the courts sort out the resulting mess."

I was personally involved in a case where someone assaulted myself and 5 others, before attacking two women and three children in a car. I can still remember the terrified screams of the children. His penalty? - 6mth suspended sentence. Even if the Police do get it right and try to get the true scum off the streets, the courts just let them off with a slap on the wrist.

So, knowing that they can't get a conviction with the real criminals, the Police try to persuade the Gov. to give them so many powers that they can catch unsuspecting [previously] law-abiding citizens.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

S44 Authorisations

Interesting to note that S44NPIAguidance-Nov2008.pdf says that "communities should be informed of the existence of a section 44 authorisation".

After numerous FoI requests to see if a train station I was stopped and searched in, was under a S44 designated area, the police always refuse citing national security.

0
0

Maybe there *are* more criminals in those areas

So we're in Leicester, home of one of the largest concentrations of Asian-origin people in the UK. Is it just me, or wouldn't you expect more Asians to be stopped around there than is average for the rest of the UK? Don't get me wrong, the whole "sus" thing is dodgy. But trying to set racial targets on who you're allowed to stop when they're really acting suspiciously is just stupid.

Let's be truly non-racist here, and accept that people of Asian, black or Traveller origin can also be criminals.

0
0
Boffin

The relevant part of the report...

The report says "...tactics in a way that is disproportionate..."

This usually means an anomaly between the proportion of those stopped and of the general local population as a whole.

nK

0
0
Boffin

SUS

I think you underestimate the effects of the Vagrancy Act. Sus was an actual charge - "frequenting or loitering in a public place with an intent to commit an arrestable offence, being a suspected person or reputed thief." It could not be used to stop and search without arrest, but was used as an arbitrary power of arrest.

_Pace_ <g> Robert Long 1, the police historically had very little power (though no less temptation to abuse what they had), but police powers have in fact accrued very rapidly in recent years. I see the Public Order Act 1986 as the watershed. To replace Sus we got the very nearly as readily abused Disorderly Conduct, plus the legalisation of all sorts of police tactics that the courts had discovered to be unlawful because of litigation arising out of incidents during the miner's strike.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

No solving this problem...

...until Parliament finally accepts that, in 21st century UK, the police aren't just not the answer to so many of our problems - as often as not they ARE the problem. In my own area, if I had to name a dozen of the worst criminals, at least half would be in uniform. You'd probably find them and the other half around the same table at the Lodge. Policing in the UK is out of control, and needs to be brought back under real oversight, with a rigorous buck-stops-here policy with Chief Constables.

That said, I'm not holding my breath...

3
0
Anonymous Coward

One layer down, some more to go

I was about to say that the cops need more competence and less clamouring for ```more power, cap'n'', as they have more than they know what to do with it already, and it's affecting the law abiding citizen in his ordinary life.

But really, the problem is deeper than that, again. We have a morally panicked government and associated machinery, lots of exceedingly bad and vague law banning this and forbidding that, leaving the populace all but straitjacketed, cowed by the wars on stuff and abstract concepts.

Indeed, people are now deemed criminal and incompetent by default. This does not encourage anybody to take up responsibility for their own actions, nevermind for taking part in and building up a healthy society.

Knowing to the letter what your rights are simply is no defence against a surly copper. In fact, it's likely to make the copper surlier and get his super to detain you for longer, on a trumped-up charge if he has to.

If the government is to do anything about that, it doesn't really do to rap knuckles of people only doing their jobs, if perhaps a little bit too enthousiastically because of pressure to ``produce'' and with not enough regard for what really is a crime and what is merely transgressing against silly lawyery. It's not their job to figure that out, and anyway they clearly can't, not competent there.

No, if the government wants to mend this, it will have to actually govern instead of panicking. It will have to take its happy pills and start with recinding the worst of the bad laws. Rewind to the legal status quo of 1999 and see if there is anything that breaks so bad it needs fixing. The government'll be surprised how well we'll survive.

It'd be nice if we didn't have to wait another 157 years for them to get around to fix broken laws by finally caving in and repealing them. A revolution would be quicker, even though those do some serious lasting damage themselves.

3
0

It seems an odd question, really.

'Whether the police need *more* powers'?

Funny, but I remember them being pretty darn good at their job when they had rather *fewer* powers. They, and we, knew what was OK and what not, and we trusted them to keep the peace, which they did. Good grief, you even got to chat with them occasionally without being made to feel like a criminal.

Now, they have thousands of new laws 'flexible' enough to allow them to do largely what they like, and we're forced to comply with that by, well, force, plus a bit of 'Crown vs Hitesh' (nice post). Whether you can really 'trust' somebody pumped up for instant action who's shouting and pointing a Taser at you is moot, and whether what is thereby kept is "peace" more so.

Progress? Not impressed.

1
0

Oh wow

Ehm eye fihve are going to have a field day tracing y'all through tor.

1
0

7/7

I remember after 7/7 when the police were calling for anybody/everybody to send in pics they took on/before that date.

Perhaps the chief constables need reminding of that also.

1
0

Ignorance

To paraphrase a post on BBW ....

There are now so many laws covering such minor things that ignorance of the law should now be accepted as a valid defence.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Especially....

... as - when it comes to ignorance of the law - your average plod takes some beating...

Not to mention the average magistrate in my direct experience.

1
0
This topic is closed for new posts.