Random stops sanctioned?
BACK on 26 May the Home Office announced plans for a "stop and question" power for police, under yet more terrorism legislation. It would be extremely surprising if this did not have an effect on newsgatherers, such as them being detained to check details of their address and ask where they've been and where they're going leading them to miss a deadline - especially for filing material that police officers to not expect to find complimentary.
The strange thing is that police currently have a power to stop and search anyone, without needing "reasonable suspicion", in any area "designated" under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000, such as the whole of London. Could it be that the Home Office is preparing for London Freelance committee member Pennie Quinton to win an appeal against this power to the European Court of Human Rights - see www.londonfreelance.org/fl/0704terr.html
Home Office minister Tony McNulty said there would be plenty of time for consultation on the proposed powers - check www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/haveyoursay/current-consultations to see when this opens. The NUJ will without doubt be making a submission, but a large number from individuals would be good too.