Police use of anti-terror stop and search powers trebled last year, prompting fears that the policy is alienating London’s Muslim communities.
Officers in England and Wales used Terrorism Act powers to search 124,687 people in 2007/8, up from 41,924 in 2006/7, figures released yesterday showed. But only around 1 per cent of those searches ended in an arrest. There were 1,271 arrests in total but only 73 of those were for terror offences.
Nearly 90 per cent of the searches were carried out by the Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, which recorded a 266 per cent increase in anti-terror stop and search. The Government said the rise in anti-terror stop and search last year was in part linked to the failed bombings in London’s Haymarket district.
Corinna Ferguson, a lawyer for human rights group Liberty, said: “A threefold increase in anti-terror stop and search is the clearest signal that these powers are being misused. Only 6 in 10,000 people stopped were arrested for terrorism, let alone charged or convicted. And the disproportionate impact on ethic minorities is even greater than in previous years.”