Repeal Section 44, Says British Terror Tsar

Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of terrorism legislation in the UK, has begun calling for the abolition of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial stop and search law that allows police to search individuals without having reasonable suspicion has become the bane of many street photographers, who are often ordered to stop shooting and are detained when uncooperative.

In January, over 2,000 photographers gathered in Trafalgar Square in London to protest Section 44, and apparently the negative publicity has gotten the attention of the government. The London evening standard reported yesterday that Carlile has begun calling for the act to be repealed:

Lord Carlile of Berriew said the use of Section 44 powers was having a “disproportionately bad effect on community relations” and had become “counter-productive” in the fight against terrorism.

He also revealed that not a single arrest for terrorism offences and only “morsels” of intelligence had resulted from more than 200,000 such searches carried out last year — 151,000 in the Metropolitan Police area alone.

He suggests that the new law should allow searches without reasonable suspicion to be carried out only during terrorist events or around a small number of sites critical to the countries infrastructure.

What we found interesting was the following quote:

Nothing fills my in-tray and in-box more than complaints on the use of Section 44.

Well photographers, your voices were heard!

(via Amateur Photographer)

Image credit: ‘Im a Photographer not a Terrorist’ by =chris=

  • Miles

    It's good news that someone in the government, or at least linked to it, is listening but the law isn't really the heart of the problem. The issue is that the law is supposed to only be used in connection with terrorism, using it to stop and search photographers who could only in the most tenuous way be suspected of suspicious behaviour is a problem with training and attitude within the police force. Changing the law that should never have been applied in these cases won't change this attitude and photographers will still be the butt of the police force's bullying.

    England used to be famous for its resilience in the face of aggression but we have lost our backbone and become a country of intimidation and paranoia. The government is actively engaged in undermining what was left of our national character with a neurotic knee-jerk response to terrorism that includes posters targeting photographers. And none of it does anything to defend the country from attacks, just to assuage Daily Mail readers.

    Well done to everyone who protested in London.

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