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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    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)?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  4. Brian Morrison
    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!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    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...

  6. Guy Herbert
    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.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Matt Bryant

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

  10. Richard
    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

  11. Kaemaril
    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'

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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!"

  13. captain kangaroo
    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...

  14. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    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...?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Matt Bryant

    Was it because you is.....?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  19. Chris Harden
    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.

  20. Duncan Hothersall
    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.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    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

  22. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  23. Cthonus
    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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ 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

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    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.

  27. Antony Riley
    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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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

  29. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    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.

  30. Mark
    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...

  31. amanfromMars 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?

  32. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    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).

  33. Mark
    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...

  34. dervheid
    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.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  36. Tony

    @ 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.

  37. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    "3000 new criminal offences"

    Heck, can anyone say what they all are?

    No?

  38. Buzzby
    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.

  39. Luther Blissett

    @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?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

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

    ...a Twat?

  41. amanfromMars Silver badge
    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

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, I thought this was a Register comments page

    not Speek Ure Branez. My mistake

  43. Jim Westrich

    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.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  45. MinionZero
    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!).

  46. Pierre 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.

  47. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    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.

  48. Mark
    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.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    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

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ahahah Matt Bryant ...

    http://www.connectpa.co.uk/people/peopleprofile.php?id=48

    Cheers anon coward...well spotted...

    LOL the irony... "People are paranoid" ... Well, let's be honest, things like *this* don't help, do they?

    He couldn't be that stupid, could he? Then again, I just read his profile and looked at his picture. Maybe. Just maybe. Ahaha.

  52. Luther Blissett

    @Matt Bryant @Luther

    MB 14:41 > once did hand out CND leaflets as a stoodie because I was trying to get a little action with one of their female members

    MB 16:56 > I might be interested in pursuing other forms of sexual gratification with any fit female members of the Met, I think my wife ...

    Methinks the troll doth protest just a shade much.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    RE: RE: ooFie@rentaquote.com

    My favourite quote has to be "with great power comes great responsibility." Can't recall which great philosopher came up with it, somebody Parker I think.

    Why is racial profiling racist? If a 1000th of 1% of Muslims have terrorist leanings and a 10,000th of 1% of whites feel similarly why would you spend your limited resources trying to get the number of whites S&S'd up to the national distribution of races. If S&S is to make people feel more secure then harassing someone who has a fraction of the likelihood of being a terrorist compared to the person behind him on the train seems to me to be a very insecure and unscientific PC way to ensure our security.

    And while we're on equality... what's the split of S&S by age and by gender?

    PS. Can I have some of my freedoms back please? Just one or two...

    I hate posting anonymously, but needs must. Until plod gets a court order to see El Reg's database. Oh, that's right, they don't need a court order any more. Where's that constitution, I'm sure I had one once...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    SAS = SOS

    Stop and Search = Same old sh1te. On the other hand it's better than

    SAS beats BIH (Bullet in Head).

    Matt was probably happy to see M. le Plod out and about rather than sleeping at their desk.

    At the least it reminds me of the US DWB problem....

    as to Matt's "not all coppers are psychopathic fascists "...no, only about 98% of them

    Now that W has been sent packing, isn't it about time to send Wacqui back to whatever hole she came from?

  55. Turbojerry

    Have the Met created more problems than they have solved

    I was going to ask out of those 31,797 people stopped and searched how many might have signed the OSA and be in a position to compromise British security in some way, given that one poster has already mentioned signing the OSA and working in defence as I once did on the basis of a very unscientific roster of posters here that would make it 500+ people if 1% were angry enough about it to do something to breach security then the Met have not enhanced our security but compromised it at least 5 times.

  56. Brian Mankin

    @Matt Bryant : A little maths and a question.

    @Matt Bryant.

    Suppose that in every one million people there is one terrorist.

    Suppose also that a police stop and search campaign stops one person out of every thousand travelling through the searched area.

    In this case, the chance of a terrorist being stopped and searched is 1 in 1 000 000 000.

    Please tell me, how does the police stop and search power make me safer. From my understanding this appears to be is a waste of valuable resources.

  57. Phil
    Thumb Down

    @RE: @ PR excercise and Luther Blissett

    Matt, your commentary would be much more impressive if you knew how to spell.

  58. Pierre Silver badge
    Happy

    NOT a waste of money

    It's not a waste of resources, it's an *investment*. In PR, to be precise. Stop and search the people, *telling them that it's to stop terr'rists*. You won't catch any of course, but the good man on the street (e.g. the TMatt-o-tron) will think "Oh, how good it feels to be protected!". Same thing as for the "no liquid on planes" thing: if you have no way to stop the terrorists (or if you can't be bothered to try. Or the terrorists don't exist in the first place), just do something, anything, provided it's bothersome and very visible. It _needs_ be very visible (you wouldn't want anyone to miss on your laudable deeds, would you) and it _needs_ be bothersome so that you can say "hey, it's the terr'rists' fault, see how bad they are" because it will make people believe that the threat is not invented: they felt the consequences, therefore the threat must be real. If you don't do that, people will finally notice that nothing bad is happening, and you neat "terrorist threat" lie will collapse...

    This is why it's useful (in a twisted way) to make the plane cattle wait in line for hours and discard their toothpaste tubes, or to randomly stop and search passerbys in the street.

    You can enhance the effects by specifically targeting the subpopulations that the sheeple consider as potential threats (strangers and people with a dark complexion make good targets).

    It's not a waste of money: it's an advertisement campaign (from HMG's point of view, at least).

  59. Sillyfellow

    most are missing the point..

    which is: BE AFRAID!

    the constant reminders in the media, and the constant presence of the uniformed enforcers, is primarily intended to keep you mindful of the FEAR. you must be scared. this is the only effective way that a few 'leaders' can dominate everyone else (you and your family (let's not forget the children then ;) )).

    ps. excellent banter in here. nice one folks.

  60. Jay Zelos

    retrain viglen

    "remain vigilant"

    For some unknown reason this reminds me of Beneath a Steel Sky, now thats scary.

  61. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    RE: all the ACs and the homophobic Mr Blisset

    RE: AC

    "....You probably enjoyed being searched. Did it really make you feel safer?...." The sight of Policemen on our streets is reassuring to me. I hope it also deters criminals as well as terrorists. I suppose by some amazing bit of twisted logic you think terrorists would be more detered if there were no Police on the streets? How does that work then?

    "...I bet you watch Spooks. Go on, admit it. You think it's really exciting...." Sorry, wrong again. I did once watch about half-way into one episode before I decided it was simply so poor as to be unwatchable. Amazing - we actually found something we agree on! There may be hope for you yet.

    "....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? ....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." Let's see - I have lived, worked and traveled through most of the Middle East (including Israel), parts of North Africa, Europe, and America. I'm guessing the furthest afield you have been is a package holiday to Lanzarote. In 1985 I saw first-hand the effects of the Lebanese civil war in Beiruit, an event you probably base your "knowledge" of on a few websites and maybe some BBC News footage. Ever since I have read widely in trying to understand how people could be so callous to each other (and by "people" I mean the Arabs to one another) and on the "causes" of terror. Thank you for your concern, but I'm pretty confidant in my own knowledge that if I have an "Idiot Lantern" then you're living in the Idiot Lighthouse.

    RE: @Matt Bryant @Luther

    "....Methinks the troll doth protest just a shade much." Me thinks your not-so-latent homophobia is showing. If all your debating comes down to is "you're so gay, nah-nah-nanah-nah" then you really do need to try a little harder. Come on, try an formulate an argument as to why you think the Police shouldn't have the powers to stop and search under the Terrorism Act 2000? Go on, try.

    RE: RE: ooFie@rentaquote.com

    "...With great power comes great responsibility...." That would be Stan Lee. Interesting to see once you've run out of the stock Benjamin Franklin quotes your next best is from a comic book. Then again you probably never even read the comic, just saw the film. And for your information, here in the UK we don't have a constitution. There's a lot of ill-informed belief that the Magna Carta is somehow such a document, but it is not.

    "...Why is racial profiling racist? If a 1000th of 1% of Muslims have terrorist leanings and a 10,000th of 1% of whites feel similarly why would you spend your limited resources trying to get the number of whites S&S'd up to the national distribution of races...." That is not an explanation of why you believe racial profiling is racist, it's just a poorly structured ramble of non-statistics. You can't even provide valid stats!

    RE: @Matt Bryant : A little maths and a question.

    "Suppose that in every one million people there is one terrorist...." Why suppose? There are statistics available online. But let's re-phrase your assumption - there were approximatley 800,000 Muslim males between the ages pf 18 and 50 in the UK (MPACUK's own figures) when the July 7th and 21st 2005 bombings occured. There were at least nine male, Muslims involved, so we're already below the 1-in-100,000 figure, and that's before we start to consider their supporters and co-conspirators.

    "....Suppose also that a police stop and search campaign stops one person out of every thousand travelling through the searched area....." I see you have put a lot of careful research into your facts and figures - not! "....In this case, the chance of a terrorist being stopped and searched is 1 in 1 000 000 000...." I'm guessing you never sat O-level Maths! If you had a 1-in-1,000,000 chance of stopping a terrorist with one stop and search, then your chance would increase with more stops, i.e. by your own reasoning it would be a 1-in-1000 chance. Congratulations, not only did you manage to present your argument in as poor a manner as Mr Blisset, you actually managed to display an even worse level of maths!

    "....Please tell me, how does the police stop and search power make me safer. From my understanding this appears to be is a waste of valuable resources...." Well, not to put too fine a point on your limited understanding, the mere fact that the Police have the power to stop and search means terrorists will have to plan ways to try and not be stopped, which makes it harder for them to transport nasty stuff like guns or bombs or even just knives. If the Police did not have the stop and search powers then the terrorists could saunter down the street with whatever they pleased, save in the knowledge the Police couldn't stop them to check what they were carrying. Of course, to make the deterant value work, the Police have to be seen out and about doing stops. So that's why you should be reassured. And then there is the bonus of the Police using the powers and turning up druggie low-lifes carting around their stashes of newly re-calssified Class B skunk (could that be the real reason for your worrying?).

    RE: Phil Posted

    Apologies for my spelling, but no-ones perfect. I'm told even Obama owns a dictionary (but then he does have all his speeches written for him so maybe it's just for decoration).

  62. Reid Malenfant
    Thumb Up

    To Matt Bryant

    Matt, I believe that during the last couple of years I've read a fair cross section of your postings, I have even replied to a few, primarily because I had taken particular issue with your opinions.

    However, I now feel prompted to congratulate you on your sterling defence in the face of a relentless barrage of insults and dogmatic tub thumping. I do enjoy reading someone that can combine apparent sincerity with wit and intelligence, regardless of whether I agree with them or not.

    It's probably my age but I’m finding mindless insults and name calling increasingly tiresome and utterly futile. With regard to certain topics, Registerland does indeed seem to possess its own 'received wisdom', and woe betide anyone who dares to challenge an accepted standpoint.

    Surely what we want here is a range of opinions? Rounding on an individual for offering an observation, or claiming knowledge, that contradicts your immutable dogma suggests intimidation and displays a certain hypocrisy, particularly when viewed against a backdrop of a supposed Police State and Governmental fascism. Does no-one see the irony?

    Personally, I find all the “we’re going to hell in a Police State” musings about as reasoned and balanced as the archetypal Daily Mail rant against the unstoppable tide of immigration and vicious criminals on every corner. They are all loaded political standpoints based on assumption, bias and pre-judgement (that’s ‘prejudice’ to you and me!).

    As in so much of life, the truth tends to walk an uneasy path between extremes and is invariably skewed by the unforeseen and unexpected ….. that and the fact that people rarely conform to stereotype, no matter how much you may want (or even need) them to.

    To assert, for instance, that 98% of police are racist, that all mac owners are by definition idiots or that there is an international Jewish conspiracy is at best childish or naive and, at worst, malicious.

    There, see what you’ve done, now I'm ranting? …. damn! I’m come over all hoists and petards now.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Matt Bryant

    All right-thinking people know that illegals are going to put us all in Death Camps because they have given away our sovriegnty, It is vital that we shut up and obey orders, says the government, Next here come the pc brigade and the nanny state illegals are bending over backwards for the ethnic minorities in a white country soon we will bring back enoch powell what about my right not to be murdered.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're reading a lot into a re-draft of a document.

    "There's an implicit admission that Section 44 stops and searches do not detect terrorists."

    Or alternately, an understanding that DETECTING terrorism is pointless whereas DETERRING and DISRUPTING it are.

  65. Jimmy

    To Matt Bryant

    Your original post appeared to be a model of restraint right up to the last sentence where you just couldn't resist digging into your bag of conservative clichés to produce this rubbish:

    "Maybe that's because, unlike you, I'm not given to paranoid delusions of a police state."

    Paranoia is a serious psychiatric illness in which the patient suffers from irrational fears and suspicions. Your attempt to characterise people who express healthy scepticism about the activities of politicians and businessmen as being paranoid is a typical conservative smear tactic.

    Maybe if complacent citizens such as you hadn't been asleep on watch for the last ten years this country wouldn't have been reduced to the status of a third world economy.

    Next time you go for one of your nocturnal strolls along the embankment just bear in mind that the home secretary has stated that she would be afraid to venture out at night in London unless she was accompanied by her armed minders. Paranoid? And we have it on no less an authority than the Information Commissioner that we are " Sleepwalking towards a surveillance society in this country. Paranoid?

    I've only got one cliché in my liberal bag and I'm proud to produce it in the presence of sleepwalkers :Complacency is the enemy of freedom.

    .

  66. Catkins
    Linux

    Data retention

    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?

    --------------------------------------------

    The search is recorded. The Home Office website states that information gathered in a stop and search, even if you are innocent and allowed to go, is retained "for monitoring purposes". http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/powers/stop-and-search/. Importantly it doesn't define what 'monitoring purposes' are or how long information is retained.

    That kid who was held at Wimbledon station under the Terrorism Act last year for taking photos for his GCSE geography project was told records would retained for six years. People questioned by Sussex Police at the Labour Party conference in 2006 were told that records would be held permanently (with video film taken by police deleted after 7 years). Probably the length of time records are kept depends on the individual force, but it seems to be held for several years at the very least.

    Where exactly is this information being held? I don't accept that this is for statistical monitoring only. The Home Office is (deliberately?) vague on this. If for example I'm stopped and searched at Waterloo station on my way home this evening and next month a bomb goes off on Platform 4, then I'd bet a month's wages that the police will check out those detained under the Terrorism Act in the area, even if they were random stops. Is it locally or centrally recorded?

    Section 44 gives the police unlimited power, which they frequently misuse. Under normal circumstances they need reasonable suspicion to stop people. Under terrorism legislation they don't. Therefore they now use Section 44 for non terrorism related stops. Taking pictures of your kid in a park? Section 44. Taking your mixed race disabled kid on holiday? Section 44. First person I come across on my beat after the wife burned my toast this morning? Section 44.

    Legally you aren't obliged to give ANY personal details to the police during a SAS unless you are being reported for a recordable offence, but if you refuse they will either (a) go through your bag until they find proof of identity such as your credit card etc (b) wrongly inform you that it's illegal to withhold this information (and that they will arrest you if you don't comply). Which is what happened to 15 year old Fabian Sabbara at Wimbledon station and Prof Alfredo Saad Filho of SOAS at the British Museum last week. He complained in the FT.

    PCSOs are particularly good at this 'comply or be arrested' stunt, claiming powers they don't have and frequently carry out Section 44 stops on their own, despite the fact they legally need to be working under the direct supervision of a real police officer to do this.

    I know the excuse is that 'anyone can be a terrorist'. Well yes anyone can be a terrorist. The fact is virtually no one is, so having Dibble approach everyone as if they were a potential Osama Bin Laden is f***ing ridiculous.

    I'd like to think that if I'm faced with this situation I'd stick to my guns and refuse to supply information, even if they arrest me. However remember that even if your arrest if later ruled unlawful, it will still come up under things like enhanced CRB checks and you'll have to admit having been arrested under the Terrorism Act if you want to get a visa to countries like the US. Good luck with that. Oh yeah, and I haven't noticed the government obeying the recent European Court ruling on retention of innocent people's DNA either......

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Matt Bryant

    "try an formulate an argument as to why you think the Police shouldn't have the powers to stop and search under the Terrorism Act 2000"

    The stop and search powers being used by the Police service are, at times, being used without the slightest link to terrorism at all.

    I have no objection to the intention behind such legislation but I do wholeheartedly protest at the way it is used as a catch all by police officers and the government for that matter (Iceland anyone?). It is this abuse of legislation that most people

    I would prefer that I were not stopped and searched by the Police on the grounds that I were a suspected terrorist if that is not actually the nature of the stop and search.

    The only reason it is used over the PACE stop and search is that it gives more freedom to the Police officer and less to the person under suspicion.

    An online dictionary defines terrorism as such:

    terrorism - the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear

    Now we have a government that is quite apt at controlling the fear of the population and manipulating it to achieve their political goals... all we are missing is a little bit of violence to pacify those who dissent and we have our own home grown terrorist government.

    Most people are putting across very polarised arguments but I think they have the same intent in mind; to not allow the people in positions of power to abuse that power to the detriment of the rest of the populous.

    Either way, personally I'd be very offended if I was detained by Police officers to have my possessions checked if the only reason they were doing so was to add me to the Caucasian male tally of those that they have stopped.

    As a side note, you were right about the idiot with the maths, although wrong with your correction... If the one in a million were worth stopping and they stopped one in a thousand then the likelihood of catching the person worth stopping is one in a million. The events are mutually exclusive.

  68. Brian Mankin

    Re : @Matt Bryant : A little maths and a question.

    You're right, my maths was faulty. Strike my comment.

    I still have reservations regarding arbitrary stop and search but I'll refrain from commenting until I can manage a better response.

  69. David Robinson
    Paris Hilton

    Laws-- and others.

    Actually, this government has brought in 3600 plus new laws and still going. It has also brought in over 16000 plus new regulations, in order to bypass parliament, but most still carrying financial or penal penalties.

    Oh, we do have a Bill of rights but governments keep quiet about it because so many of the laws and rules they make breach it and are probably illegal.

    Dave.

    Paris because she knows all about being stuffed as we are.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    S44 in my world

    I am Police Officer predominantly engaged in armed protection duties. All of the sites at which I work, together with a number of other temporarily protected venues, are routinely covered by S44.

    We run armed patrols 24/7 within these S44 zones, we are constantly visited by Armed Response and Armed Support Vehicles together with any number of Close Protection Teams moving their VIP's in and out - this will often include a number of foreign protection teams escorting their charges.

    We have been doing this for years and have never fired a shot in anger - despite IRA ‘visitors’ and deliberate provocation. We invariably have a first class relationship with local residents - we don't bug them and their local crime rate usually approaches zero within a mile or so of the sites.

    And do you know how many S44 checks I've done in the last year? None - absolutely zero! Why not? Because I did not personally come across any circumstances that justified it. Furthermore, the same is largely true for most of my colleagues; there is actually quite a few of us but we probably average just a handful of checks a month and they are invariably connected with reports of gunfire or similar.

    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hesitate to use S44 if I thought it was warranted, it just hasn't occured recently. Essentially, I don't do quotas, never have and never will, neither for that matter do most of my friends - In my opinion quotas are fundamentally immoral and there are plenty of other performance indicators you can rely upon. So I don’t play.

    We are constantly being exhorted to use the Act because, if we don't, the local orders may not be renewed and the powers will no longer be available to us. And yes, we have had some very good examples of their correct use. All of this may be regarded with scepticism but the fact of the matter is that we are NOT the MET and therein lies the difference.

    I have a Policeman for around 3 decades now and have had quite a lot of interaction with the MET - on and off duty - and, almost without exception, the experience has left me profoundly unimpressed. In my experience, if there's any excess you can imagine, someone somewhere is doing it right now in the MET. I’m sorry to any Met guys reading this but I say it as I see it.

    They are nothing like as good as they think they are and seem to cling to outdated and pointless working practices. They remain rigourously hierarchical and correspondingly militant, its just like stepping back into the 70's. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of excellent individuals, but as an organisation, they suck. Unfortunately we all get tarred with the same brush.

    As to this notion that we're well on the way to a Police State, well that always leaves me utterly baffled - because most of us have no real respect for the Home Office either and would certainly not play to that tune - not under any normal circumstances that I can think of. Hell, the sodding H.O. will shaft us on every opportunity they get.

    Policing has certainly changed during my time in the job, but not to that extent. Police officers now are a more diverse bunch than they've ever been and seldom seem to agree on anything, at least not amongst themselves - its like a relentless debating club - every shade of political, sexual and religious opinion seems to be catered for and conversations do tend to become rather lively.

    However, that said, one belief that does unite us is the universal conviction that we are the defenders of the weak; an old fashioned view perhaps but one genuinely held. How that translates into practice is, of course, a different matter, particularly in the light of such widely differing viewpoints.

    Incidentally, with regard to local residents, we can usually gauge our impact around Xmas time; that's when they tend to inundate us with boxes of biscuits, cakes and quality street etc. They flag you down for tea constantly and do genuinely seem to like having us around. Hmm, I bet that sounds a bit old fashioned too - but its perfectly true (ah, but of course, we're not in that London here so what do you expect?).

    AC - because even I'm not that stupid

  71. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Coat

    Terror Storm - Alex Jones

    Carry a DVD of Terror Storm in case they stop you. They can then watch this and learn that the 7/7 bombs were not in rucksacks but planted underneth the carrages.

    Mind you if they had stopped and searched Jean Demendez then they could have let him on his way. So in a sence the new police policy of searching people before decicing to shoot them is reasuring.

    I am just taking out everything from my pockets before entering London.

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