[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Reaction to 'stop and question' plans
Home Office proposals to give police the right to stop and question anyone in the UK have provoked a barrage of criticism. BBC News looks at some of the responses.

NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY PETER HAIN

"We've got to be very careful that we don't create the domestic equivalent of Guantanamo Bay, which was an international abuse of human rights, acted as a recruiting sergeant for dissidents and alienated Muslims and many other people across the world.

Police search a man
The laws would give police powers to stop and question

"We cannot have a reincarnation of the old 'sus' laws under which mostly black people, ethnic minorities, were literally stopped on sight and that created a really bad atmosphere and an erosion of civil liberties.

"But we have got to be very clear in balancing civil liberties, jealously guarding them - and I have fought for civil liberties all my life - and being clear on protecting people's security."

SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE

"When they (the government) tried to argue for a 90-day detention of people without charge, they couldn't come up with any actual instance of when it had been necessary and so we voted against it.

"So we will listen to the proposals...but they have to be proposals consistent with popular consent in this country and with not alienating the people whose cooperation we need in the fight against terrorism.

"We don't live in a country thankfully, where we just do anything that 10 Downing Street say or the police say.

"We do live in a country where, with some rational debate and consultation between political parties, we ought to be able to support what is necessary to fight terrorism."

NICK CLEGG, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT HOME AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN

"Tony Blair and John Reid are clearly determined to leave office in a blaze of headlines.

"But their increasing determination to go out talking tough will leave a trail of half truths, rushed laws and unhelpful controversy behind.

"Pushing for the powers of a police state is probably the best guarantee for increased radicalism in exactly those communities where we need cooperation to defeat terrorism."

MASSOUD SHADJAREH, ISLAMIC HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

"I really don't see any need for any expansion as regards stop and search. It doesn't really bring any extra security.

"Already the police have got the right to stop people and question them if they have got any suspicion of any sort.

"I really believe we have already got, as regards stopping people, ample right for police to do so.

"If anything, what this has shown is that this unfortunately disproportionately targets those from ethnic minorities and those perceived to be Muslims."

IRISH PRIME MINISTER BERTIE AHERN

"International terrorism is something nobody can take for granted and nobody can ignore...but it would be a pity if that continues what has been a very restrictive regime in Northern Ireland which is certainly not something that the ordinary citizen likes," he told Sunday Live on Sky News.

"I think people in Northern Ireland would feel that whatever is going to be the legislation everywhere else should be the legislation in Northern Ireland.

"But Northern Ireland generally, now in a peaceful environment, had been looking forward to the amendment of the restrictive legislation that was necessary in a whole host of areas during the 30 years of the troubles."

AHMED VERSI, MUSLIM NEWS

"Gordon Brown has already said he's going to have more dialogue with the Muslim community.

"There is a complete lack of confidence in the government and the police service in the Muslim community. If this legislation is passed, it's going to get worse.

"I don't think Gordon Brown is going to succeed in getting this confidence back if this law goes ahead.

"This is going to make especially young Muslims feel more targeted and that they are not part and parcel of society.

"They feel they are alienated to some extent. They are being targeted because they are Muslims. It will radicalise young people more and more."

SHAMI CHAKRABARTI, LIBERTY

"The police should not have powers to run around questioning people willy-nilly, otherwise people feel hunted.

"This looks like political machismo, a legacy moment. Stopping and questioning anyone you like will backfire because people will be being criminalised."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Why the proposal is likely to be controversial



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific