Some [rather interesting figures just on the BBC news site->http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8034315.stm] about the increasing use of terror powers for non-terror purposes:
Somebody in London is stopped and searched every three minutes, according to new figures obtained by BBC London.
The Metropolitan Police used section 44 of the Terrorism Act more than 170,000 times in 2008 to stop people in London.
That compares to almost 72,000 anti-terror stop and searches carried out in the previous year.
So, the stop and searches have gone up by 236%. But at least they’re catching all those pesky terrorists, right? Er… well, no. Out of all those stops, only 65 led to arrests for terror offences, a success rate of just 0.035%. And those are arrests – one wonders how many of those have led to a conviction? Alas, according to the Beeb again:
The Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Metropolitan Police were all unable to say whether anyone had successfully been charged or convicted for terror offences as a direct result of section 44.
So, let’s get this straight. 172,000 stop and searches. 65 arrests. And we don’t know if any of those led to a conviction. What is happening is clearly that the police are using this power to target a lot of other crimes, at least [that’s what Boris Johnson says here->http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/06/boris-johnson-stop-and-search]. But that’s not terrorism. And it was the threat of terorism – not knife crime – which has led to us giving up so many of our liberties.