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Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill--Part X: Police Powers

NCJ Number
Gabrielle G. Grimwood; Mark Oakes; Philippa Carling
Date Published
November 2001
33 pages
This document discusses the British Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill, particularly dealing with police powers.
The Bill seeks to amend the Terrorism Act 2000, causing some controversy, particularly in its proposals to extend the powers of the police, including the Ministry of Defense Police (MDP) and British Transport Police (BTP). While the government views it as necessary to safeguard national security, others have argued that the measures might endanger human rights. The Bill proposed that the MDP be allowed to act outside the Ministry of Defense (MOD) land when asked by a constable from the police forces listed. The MDP will also be able to act outside MOD land when responding to a specific incident and in an emergency. The proposals also allow the MDP to provide assistance, on request, to other forces, and extend to them certain powers in the Terrorism Act 2000. Further provisions allow the MDP and BTP, under certain circumstances, to designate areas in which cordons may be erected for the purposes of terrorist investigations. This will allow a uniformed MDP constable to order a person or vehicle to leave the cordoned area and any adjacent area, to remove any vehicle and restrict access. The stop and search powers of the MDP and BTP will be extended in an amendment of the Terrorism Act 2000. In certain circumstances, the BTP and MDP will be allowed to specify areas or places in which for up to 28 days the BTP or MDP can stop and search vehicles, their occupants, and pedestrians for the prevention of terrorism. Authorization for such action to be carried out by any uniformed constable can be made by an assistant chief constable, or higher. Concern has been expressed that a consequence of the proposals might be to introduce a national police force. Some suggest that proposals to broaden the MDP’s jurisdiction beyond the narrow definition of the vicinity of defense land represented the beginning of the creation of a national force of “paramilitary riot police.” 40 footnotes