Read this BBC article on the Supreme Court ruling on the abuse of anti-terrorism law by the police. Good news (well a start anyway).
Then I get to Alan Johnson’s bit. Alan Johnson shows Blair and Brown’s Labour’s attitude to Civil Liberties. They still don’t understand why people got annoyed with police abusing powers.
The BBC gives two of Johnson’s arguments against the Court ruling and May’s position on asking for reasonable suspicion. These need to be looked at, as they are… interesting.
“The number of stop and searches under Section 44 has reduced considerably over the last two years”
This is an argument to keep the powers? Where? How? Did I miss something?
So it was wrong then and it is wrong now. It would actually suggest the power isn’t much use: they used it more when it was new but didn’t find it as useful as they’d like. Hardly an argument against the judgement or for the power. Barely even relevant.
Second the BBC says he “said the decision would restrict the powers of the police.“
Let me take this to the ridiculous extreme. The police could stop a lot of crime if they could shoot to kill anyone outside after dark. This is a restriction on the power of the police. Just because it is a restriction has nothing to do with whether it is right or wrong.
I’m not a fan of (Liberal Democrat) Lord Carlile. I feel since he was given his job of reviewing terrorism law he has gone native. He was given this job by Charles Clarke in 2005, not the coalition. He points out that the powers were simply not effective: so the restriction is not significant. Pennie Quinton, who brought the case was interviewed on PM this evening, and she said that Section 44 had not led to a single charge.
I have had a quick browse round the web to see if he had better arguments, but when the Guardian only give the Labour view a paragraph then it may be seen as a bad sign.
I think the need for reasonable suspicion is hardly an insurmountable barrier for stopping someone the police reasonably suspect to be up to no good…