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PRESS RELEASE: UK IHRC welcomes the suspension of Section 44 stop and search anti-terrorism legislation by the Hampshire Police

16 July 2009

IHRC notes that out of the 180,000 of those stopped and searched since the enactment of section 44, none were charged with terrorism related offences.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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16 July 2009

PRESS RELEASE: UK IHRC welcomes the suspension of Section 44 stop and search anti-terrorism legislation by the Hampshire Police

IHRC welcomes the suspending of Section 44 stop and search anti-terrorism legislation by the Hampshire Police. The anti-terror legislation gives police the power to stop and search anyone without prior reason or suspicion. Hampshire Police reported that despite 3,481 arrests, none resulted in terrorism related charges. Thames Valley Police made 244 arrests without resulting in any terrorism related charges. Surrey Police made 2,559 arrests, likewise without any terrorism related charges.

IHRC reiterates its call for an immediate cessation of section 44 stop and search powers, to be effective in all police departments, not least because it has proved to be a conclusive failure but also because it alienates specific communities and encourage Islamophobia.

IHRC notes that out of the 180,000 of those stopped and searched since the enactment of section 44, none were charged with terrorism related offences. Lord Carlile, the government anti-terror watchdog, in his report concluded that there was little or no evidence that the stop and search measures have the ability or potential to prevent a terror attack.

IHRC reports have catalogued the extensive abuse of powers given to examining officers at ports of entry and exit and found that the majority of people detained were profiled merely based on ethnic and religious grounds. Under Schedule 7, the port authorities could detain citizens for up to 9 hours without any reason or suspicion, and they would then be subjected to questioning over who they voted for and what political affiliations they belonged to amongst other things. Failure to answer the questions could result in 3 years imprisonment.

IHRC calls for a full review of such counterproductive policing measures.

IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh, who also belongs to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Stop and Search Community Panel, stated:

"We are extremely pleased at the suspension of Section 44 stop and search by the Hampshire Police. We call on the Metropolitan Police, who are responsible for 87% of the section 44 powers, to suspend these counter-productive measures that only succeed in marginalizing and alienating communities"

For more information please contact the Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 522 196 email: info@ihrc.org.[ENDS]

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission is an NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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