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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Surge in police anti-terror stops
A car stopped and searched near Wembley Stadium, under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act
Section 44 stops: Increased use in London
Anti-terror stop and searches in London have risen five-fold since the alleged attempted car bomb attacks in June.

Metropolitan Police chiefs said officers were making more use of special powers to "deter, disrupt and prevent terrorist activity".

Provisional figures reveal there were almost 11,000 stops in July - five times more than the monthly average.

Under the controversial law, officers can stop and search people without needing to suspect them of a crime.

Under Section 44 of the Terrorism act 2000, police officers can conduct these stops providing they take place in an area classed as a potential terrorist target.

SEC 44 STOP AND SEARCH
July 07: 10,948 stops
06-07 average: 2,114
06-07 total: 25,374
Source: Metropolitan Police

The power is currently in force across London and the Metropolitan Police Authority, the force's watchdog, warned earlier this year the stops were doing "untold damage" to community relations.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has previously defended use of the powers, but accepted that more was needed to be done to explain why they are used.

Announcing that there would be more use of the powers in the wake of the alleged attempted Glasgow and London car bombings, Commander Rod Jarman of the force said the stops were a vital tactic in limiting the chances for terrorist attacks in the capital.

"You may see an increase in overt counter terrorism activities by the police over the coming months," he said.

WHERE SEC 44 STOPS HAPPEN
26% Transport hubs
23% Outside govt buildings, iconic sites, tourist attractions
13% Financial centres
23% Airports
Source: Metropolitan Police

"Terrorists live, work and blend in to our communities. They need information; accommodation; transport; communications; material; and storage.

"Terrorists can come from any background and live anywhere. They are as likely to be seen in quiet suburban roads as they are in inner-city areas.

"To complement our more covert methods of fighting terrorism we must have a more visible presence to deter and prevent terrorist activity."

"In order to achieve this we need the support of the public. We ask for co-operation and patience while we carry out these important duties to help keep London safe," Mr Jarman said.

Concerns over powers

Met police chiefs recently said they had recorded a 37% increase in what they classed as suspicious reconnaissance, although they added the jump could be down to improvements in counter-terrorism policing.

Stop and search based on profiling and prejudice rather than objective intelligence is ineffective and counter-productive
Massoud Shadjareh, Islamic Human Rights Commission

The Metropolitan Police Authority warned in a February 2007 report that it had concerns over the effect the anti-terrorism stops were having on Muslims.

It reported that of the 22,672 anti-terror stops in the year to October 2006 only 27 had led to terrorism-related arrests.

And the Islamic Human Rights Commission, a campaign group, said it was concerned by the rise in stops.

"Preventive security checks are only effective when implemented in totality as in airports and other security zones," said Massoud Shadjareh of the organisation.

"All evidence shows that stop and search based on profiling and prejudice rather than objective intelligence is ineffective and counter-productive."

In June the government's independent reviewer of terrorism laws, Lord Carlile, said he believed the number of stops could be halved without harming national security. He said that there was inconsistency in how the law was being used.


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