Today the Court of Human Rights ruled that section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (the broad police power for stop and search without suspicion) violates the right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights.
In the case of Gillan and Quinton V the United Kingdom, the Court found that:
â€œâ€¦the powers of authorisation and confirmation as well as those of stop and search… are neither sufficiently circumscribed nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse. â€¦.They are not therefore â€œin accordance with the lawâ€.â€
The case arose from an arms fair in the Docklands area of East London in September 2003 where Pennie Quinton and Kevin Gillan (amongst many other journalists and peace protestors) were subject to lengthy stop and search and prevented from attending a demonstration. After public consternation and parliamentary questions, it emerged that the whole of Greater London had been secretly designated for stop and search without suspicion on a rolling basis since 2001.