New Sections that
Police Stop and Search Powers
Two sets of provisions will now extend the stop and search laws. Section 60 allows a senior officer to designate an area for 24 hours (extendible to 30 hours) where s/he reasonably believes that there may be incidents involving serious violence. This authorisation allows any person or vehicle in the area to be stopped and searched by a constable for offensive weapons and dangerous instruments, with no requirements for reasonable suspicion by the police officer (what's new?)
REMEMBER - You are only supposed to be stopped and searched if the police have a reasonable suspicion you are in possession of:
- Controlled drugs
- Offensive weapons or firearms
- Carrying a sharp article
- Carrying stolen goods
- If you are in a coach or train going to or you have arrived at certain sports grounds
If you are non white, a sab, a raver, a crusty or anyone else whom the police don't like
Other points to bear in mind are:
- If they are not in uniform ask to see their warrant card
- Ask why you have been stopped and at the end ask for a record of the search (this is standard form and is supposed to detail their reasons for searching you)
- If anything is taken off you, always ask for a receipt unless of course you intend to deny ever having it in the first place.
Section 82 amends the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989, and allows designation of an area and searches for 'articles of a kind which could be used for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism'. Again there is no requirement for reasonable suspicion on the part of the police.
The first part of this is more likely to be used than the second as hunt saboteurs are not seriously considered terrorists (as yet). The powers now available from section 60 will not mean anything will change for us, we have put up with illegal searches and property being taken away without reasonable excuses. Now they can do it legally.
Sections 54 - 59, which came into force in April 1995, extend the provisions of the Police and Criminal Act 1984 relating to taking and keeping of body samples. Samples may now be taken for all recordable offences (not just serious arrestable offences), using reasonable force, even if the sample is not needed for the purpose of the investigation.
The right to have samples destroyed is also being curtailed and a DNA database is to be set up. In addition, mouth swabs are now to be categorised as non-intimate samples. There are two issues here. The first is that, even though a DNA profile from a person who is acquitted or where the case is dropped before trial cannot be subsequently used as evidence for the purpose of investigating an offence for statistical purposes.
Once on computer, there must always be risk as to who will access it in the future, either unlawfully or following a change in the law.