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Friday, 14 October 2011

91% Decrease in Use of Terrorism Stop and Search Powers

A report has been released by the Home Office which highlights 2010/2011 statistical information on terrorism arrests; its outcomes and the use of stop and search powers in Britain under the Terrorism Act.

The figures show a 91% decrease in stop and searches under the Terrorism Act but also shows that more than half of those arrested under terrorism offences in 2010/2011 were released without charge.

Here are some of the key statistics of the report:

Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes 2010/2011
There were 121 terrorism arrests in 2010/11, down from 178 in 2009/10 and lower than the annual average of 206 since 1 April 2002. Since 11 September 2001, there have been a total of 1,963 terrorism arrests.

Thirty-seven per cent of terrorism arrests in 2010/11 resulted in a charge (45 individuals). Fifty-two per cent of those arrested for suspected terrorism offences were released without charge (63 individuals) and the remaining 11 per cent were dealt with under alternative action (13 individuals).

Forty-two per cent of charges resulting from terrorism arrests in 2010/11 were terrorism-related as compared with 60 per cent since 11 September 2001.

In 2010/11 no individuals were held in pre-charge detention for longer than 7 days. Six people have been held for the then maximum period of 28 days, since the extension of the pre-charge detention period in 2006. The maximum period for pre-charge detention was reduced to 14 days on 25 January 2011.

All three of those individuals arrested and prosecuted in 2010/11 for terrorism related offences were convicted. 

Thirteen defendants were awaiting trial as at 31 March 2011.

As at 31 March 2011, 119 persons were in prison custody for terrorist-related offences in Great Britain, of whom 22 were classified as domestic extremists/separatists. The majority (70%) of persons imprisoned were UK nationals. Since April 2005, 41 per cent of all terrorism suspects arrested were recorded by the police as of Asian ethnic appearance. Of these, 22 per cent were subsequently charged with a terrorism-related offence. For those arrested who were of Black ethnic appearance, 35 per cent were charged, compared with 18 per cent for those who were of White ethnic appearance and 14 per cent for those classified as Other.

Stop and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000/2001
There were 11 stops and searches made under section 44 of the Terrorism Act between 1 January and 31 March 2011 in Great Britain, compared with 14,250 in the corresponding quarter in 2009/10.

Of those stopped and searched under section 44 in 2010/11 the majority defined themselves as White (57%). A further 18 per cent defined themselves as being Asian or Asian British, ten per cent defined themselves as Black or Black British and the remaining four per cent self-classified as being Chinese or other.

In 2010/2011, there were 9, 652 stops and searches made under section 44 for the Terrorism Act 2000, 91% lower than the 102, 504 searches in 2009/10.

These latest figures will be welcomed by many as it shows a decrease in Asians and Black minorities being discriminated by police under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.

In January 2011, stop and searches were made illegal by the European Court of Human Rights because of its use in disproportionately targeting Asian and Black ethnic minorities. 

There has also been public outrage at the high percentage of individuals who have been arrested under the Terrorism Act and released without charge.

Published by Suite101

Copyright Reyhana Patel. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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