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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK
Rise in terror stop-and-searches
Police search a man
Anyone near a potential terrorist target can be stopped
There was a five-fold rise in the number of stop-and-searches under counter terror laws in the wake of the attempted car bomb attacks in London.

The Metropolitan Police said 10,948 people were stopped and searched in July. The average monthly figure for 2006/7 was 2,114.

The Met also said it was increasing the use of stop-and-search powers as a part of its anti-terrorism campaign.

Civil rights group Liberty said it was "a waste of valuable police resources".

The latest figures also show the number of stop and searches in London under the Terrorism Act 2000 has risen from 13,519 in 2004/5 to 25,374 in 2006/7.

'Untold damage'

The powers, under section 44 of the act, allow officers to randomly stop people providing they are in an area deemed to be a potential target for terrorists.

Unlike the main stop-and-search powers, officers do not need to prove they had "reasonable suspicion" of the individual.

Exceptional powers of stop-and-search without suspicion should only be used when facing specific threats
Liberty's Gareth Crossman

In February, Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair vowed to review the use of terror stop-and-search powers after a Metropolitan Police Authority report said it was causing "untold damage" to certain communities.

Last month, the government's independent reviewer of terrorism, Lord Carlile, said special stop-and-search powers were being over-used.

Announcing the stepping up in use of the powers, Commander Rod Jarman said it would be a vital tactic to help it "disrupt, deter and prevent terrorist activity".

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

"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."

Liberty's Gareth Crossman said: "Exceptional powers of stop-and-search without suspicion should only be used when facing specific threats.

"Unfortunately excessive use has severely undermined community relations and proved a waste of valuable police resources."

Two men Bilal Abdullah, 27, and Mohammed Asha, 26, have been charged over the suspected failed bombings in London and Glasgow in July.


SEE ALSO
Terror search powers 'over-used'
07 Jun 07 |  UK Politics
Campbell attacks stop-and-search
23 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
Met chief defends terror powers
22 Feb 07 |  London

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