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Redefine the scope of the Terrorism Act 2000

Comment 2nd July 2010

The intent of the Terrorism Act 2000 was to address the apparent risk to this country of terrorist activity.  Today it has gotten completely out of control.  Miss-use of these powers by the police to stop and search citizens without due cause is wrong and of great concern to the vast majority of law abiding people in this country.  Section 44 of this Act must be tightened up so that stop and search powers can only be used where clear and obvious evidence of terrorist activity is suspected.  IE people taking photographs in London cannot be classed as a terrorist activity.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA 2000) was another of the anti-terrism Laws aimed directly at preventing terrorist attacks on this country.  The then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, extended the authority to use these powers.  Only nine organisations were originally allowed to invoke this Act but he widened that to nearly 800 public bodies, including all councils.  Section 28(3) of RIPA is widely used by councils "for the purposes of preventing and detecting crime or preventing public disorder".  Our Police Force is responsible for detecting and preventing crime and as such have full access to the powers of the RIPA 2000.  The RIPA 2000 regulation should be tightened to restrict access by non-governmental bodies such as local councils and reinstated it as on the original draft of the Law.

Why does this matter?

It is important the the State, and its Appendages such as local Councils, do not infringed the civil liberties of citizens of this country in their quest for total control.  We are not yet a police state but there is a danger that handing out powers to the police and councils actually causes more problems than it successfully clears.  It has been a hard fought right of the people of this country over hundreds of years to have the freedom to live without an overcharged state system directing them at every turn.

There is no rule to say that every police officer and every council employee is trustworthy.  On avarage there will be the same number of rouge individuals in these professions as in the general populatrion therefore handing down of power over the ordinary citizen must be taken with great care.

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