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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 16:03 GMT
Campbell attacks stop-and-search
Sir Menzies Campbell
Sir Menzies said stop-and-search powers were overused
Police stop-and-search powers are overused and alienating ethnic minority communities, Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell has said.

The Lib Dems say nearly 167,000 people have been stopped under anti-terrorism laws, but only 40 have been convicted.

In a speech at a mosque in Birmingham, Sir Menzies said the powers were often used in an "indiscriminate" way.

Police chiefs have confirmed they are reviewing the practice, so it is based more on intelligence than appearance.


Sir Menzies said: "It is intelligence-led policing, not indiscriminate stop-and-search, that will bring success in the fight against terrorism.

"The police and security services must be unrelenting in their determination to track down those who plot terror attacks.

"Indiscriminate stop-and-search is alienating minority groups who often feel unjustly targeted.

"Anti-terrorism powers are meant to be exceptional powers, used occasionally and only when circumstances demand it.

"The fact that so many people have been stopped, and so few arrested, suggests that the powers are being used as part of standard policing techniques."

In January, it was revealed the Association of Chief Police Officers was working with the Metropolitan Police to develop a more sensitive approach.

Commander Richard Gargini, the first full-time national coordinator for police community relations, said other forces in England and Wales were also rethinking tactics.

A raid in Forest Gate, east London, last year was criticised as too heavy-handed.

One man was shot, but both he and another man arrested at the time were not charged with any offence and were released a week later.

Met chief defends terror powers
22 Feb 07 |  London
Police rethink on stop and search
24 Jan 07 |  UK Politics
Terror laws 'hurt race relations'
08 Jul 04 |  UK Politics
Ethnic groups 'accept searches'
01 Aug 05 |  London

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