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Your rights on arrest - legal help and useful information   Section 44, Terrorism Act 2000
  Advice for protesters

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Advice for protesters: Section 44, Terrorism Act 2000

An investigation by human rights group Liberty into the policing of peace demonstrations at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire has shown that anti-terrorism laws have been used to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protests.

In particular, Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been used to search peaceful protesters.

Here's a short guide from Liberty:

Section 44 searches - Liberty Advice


The police can only give you a pat down, remove outer clothes (eg - jacket, hat) search your bags, and have you empty your pockets

You do not have to give your name or address

You do not have to explain why you are there

You are not allowed to flee the search, but you are not required to be actively compliant. You are allowed to "go limp" as passive resistance during the search if you do not wish to comply.

There is no permission to collect DNA data during the search

You do not have to comply with any attempt to photograph or record you.

Women can not be touched by male police during these searches.

Make notes about the officers searching you - name, number, and police force.

Note the time and the events preceding the search.

Note the specific wording used by the police to explain their authority to search you.

Ask police for the reason that they are searching you. Specifically, are they searching for terrorists or are they simply trying to deter, delay, or inconvenience you?

If you have a bad experience with police, you may want to make a formal complaint. Read our guide to making a police complaint

IMPORTANT UPDATES Feb 3rd 2010 Can I ignore a section 44 stop and search? "In light of the ECHR ruling that section 44 stop and search powers are incompatible with Article 8, if a police officer attempts to stop me using this power can I ignore them without fear of arrest?"
external link Guardian

Jan 12th, 2010: Stop-and-search powers ruled illegal by European court
"Police powers to use terror laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion are illegal, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled."
external link BBC
external link Discuss this on our boards

More info:
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External links:
external link Casualty of War
external link Liberty UK
external link Activists Legal Project
external link Terrorism Act 2000, HMSO

Useful info from Police National Legal Database
On what grounds can police stop and search me?
What if I refuse to be searched by the police?
Can I have a copy of the form the police officer filled in when he searched me?
How do police have to deal with stops?
Can the police stop and search me more than once a day?

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