| ||The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights have today released their second report on the powers of police to stop and search without reasonable suspicion. The report addresses the risk of the arbitrary use of stop and search powers under current guidelines and their possible breach of human rights.|
The second report sets out several recommendations and addresses the government’s response to the recommendations set out in the first report, which was published in June of this year.
Some of the key findings of the report include:
• The report takes into account the concerns of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, that there is a risk of arbitrary application of exceptional counter-terrorism powers to stop and search without reasonable suspicion because of the lack of “full and proper guidance on the exercise of the individual officer’s discretion to stop and search.”
• The report agrees with the Independent reviewer of terrorism legislation that the Code of Practice should be revised to introduce full and proper guidance on the exercise of the power to stop and search, demonstrating that its exercise “must be capable of being justified by the precise nature of the intelligence about the threat.”
• On the necessity to use urgent procedures, the report states that the JCHR has not received sufficient evidence to validate claims by police forces of an “operational gap” in the use of stop and search powers without reasonable suspicion, since that power was suspended in July 2010. The report highlights the Committee’s “unease about the Government's assertion of necessity without being prepared to provide concrete evidence in support of the alleged need.”
• The report further states that there is a lack of clarity in the Remedial Order relating to ‘reasonable’ suspicion of terrorism offences, and that legislation should be amended “to make explicit on its face that the authorising officer must have a reasonable basis not only for his or her suspicion that an act of terrorism will take place, but also for his or her view that the authorisation is necessary and proportionate to prevent such an act.”
The report is available to read in full here.
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