Great news that the Home Secretary is limiting the use of stop and search under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Of all the erosions of our civil liberties under thirteen years of Labour their insistence that the best way to counter terrorism was to restrict the freedom of the innocent was one of the most insidious. It’s amazing, once you start talking about it, how many people you know who have been stopped and the culture that it creates. I’ve been questioned for taking a photo and have lost count of the number of times I’ve had my bag examined on the way out of the Tube (although my understanding was always that suicide bombers don’t actually make it to the exit).
And the amazing thing is that it’s hard to point to any success stories from Section 44. There have been arrests, to be sure, but as far as I know none have been terrorism related. A point echoed by Shami Chakrabarti in the BBC article.
My one disappointment in the news is that it seems to have been driven more by the European Court of Human Rights than by the government – but whatever the reason it’s one to celebrate.