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Terrorism: Stop and Search

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance has been issued to police forces on use of powers under anti-terrorism legislation to stop and search people taking photographs. (308735)

Guidance has been provided to the police on a number of occasions regarding the use of counter terrorism stop and search powers in relation to taking photographs. These have included the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) guidance on stop and search which was revised and reissued to all forces in November 2008. It explains the background and purpose of stop and search powers, the different circumstances in which they might be used, including circumstances where photography may be involved.

In August 2009 the Home Office published a national circular clarifying the use of counterterrorism legislation in regards to photography in public places. The Circular (012/2009) can be found on the Home Office website. I also wrote to all chief constables whose forces had standing section 44 authorisations. This letter reiterated how the powers should be used and was accompanied by a copy of the national circular.

The Metropolitan police also issued their own local guidance on counterterrorism legislation with regard to photography in public places in August 2009. The guidance was published on the public Metropolitan police website. And on 15 December 2009 John Yates, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, issued further guidance to all Metropolitan police officers on the use of stop and search powers in relation to people taking photographs.