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Police to flex stop and search muscles

In the News.co.uk | August 7, 2007

Londoners should not be surprised if they are searched on the streets in the next few months, the Metropolitan police have warned.

Officers plan on using their stop and search powers significantly more in the capital this summer and autumn in order to "disrupt, deter and prevent terrorist activity".

Although acknowledging that the public will be inconvenienced by the increased searches, Commander Rod Jarman of the Met said counter-terrorism officers had to act in order to keep London safe.

"You may see an increase in overt counter-terrorism activities by the police over the coming months," he said.

"To compliment out more covert methods of fighting terrorism we must have a more visible presence to deter and prevent terrorist activity.

"Terrorists have been thwarted, but as the appalling attacks of July 2005 and recent events demonstrate, we must assume that they will try again."

Stop and search powers have proved controversial since their introduction in section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Critics have said the searching of certain ethnic groups more than others will breed resentment and foster more terrorism threats as a result.

But the government has backed the powers as an important tool in the fight against terrorism.

A review of the legislation by Lord Carlile, published last year, warned that any abuses of the system would damage community relations.

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