An Unofficial website concerning the Liberty legal challenge of police anti-terror searches at DSEi protests.
This is an unofficial website with links which relate to the Liberty legal challenge of the police use of Section 44 anti-terror searches at the DSEi protests. This site is generously hosted by the Fairford Coach Action but it does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Fairford Coach Action.
The Court of Appeal judgement from 29 July 2004 is here. The original judgment given on the 31st October 2003 is also available to read.
(29 July 2004) The Court of Appeal judgement has been delivered. Read the judgement here.
(12 July 2004) The Home Office figures on Race and Criminal Justice show significant rises in incidents of S44 searches of Asian and Black members of the UK population. The 2 July 2004 report from the Home Office also provides some very contradictory figures for the 2002-3 totals on S44 searches given by the Secretary of State as answers to written/oral questions. the links to the report (613kb) are available at the Home Office website:
(19 February 2004) Liberty's appeal of the DSEi anti-terror search judicial review judgement has been listed in the High Court during July, 2004 on Monday the 12th and Tuesday the 13th. More details to follow.
(12 December 2003) Liberty is commencing the appeal of the DSEi anti-terror search judicial review. Anyone who still has receipts from anti-terror searches in London, please submit them to Liberty (see below for more details). The Appeal hearing will occur in the High Court in 2004.
(16 November 2003) Please visit our comrehensive protest events listing page for Bush visit. Please remember to bring your Liberty section 44 search monitoring form if you go to any of the events!!
The web address for the events listings page is http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk/44/bush
(13 November 2003) Anyone intending to attend the protests of George Bush's visit, please read up on the police anti-terror search powers. Police may single out protesters for these searches, so it is recommended that anti-bush protesters bring a copy of the Liberty section 44 search monitoring form which has a full explanation of what the police powers are.
For activist related legal information, visit Liberty, Free Beagles, Urban 75, Schnews (see their Legal links too), Resist Bush, the Activists Legal Project, Gluaiseacht, Wombles, and the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group.
Details of the anti-Bush protests are available at UK Indymedia, Urban 75, Schnews, Resist Bush, and Stop the War Coalition UK .
(04 November 2003) The full text of the recent high court judgement is now available online. Click here to view an online copy of the 31 October judgement (this version is from BAILII). Many of the justices' comments in the judgement indicated that protesters have a right not to be targetted with the section 44 anti-terror searches. Click here to read an analysis and excerpts of these comments. For a shorter version of these important excerpts, visit the shorter excerpts page.
(31 October 2003) Thank you everyone who came down for the protest at the High Courts! For those who didn't manage to get down to the courts, this won't be our last demonstration outside the courts. The judge's ruling was in favour of the metropolitan police using anti-terror searches on protesters. An appeal will be launched, and the case will return to the High Court during this next 15 months. At the appeal we will demonstrate again to show our opposition to the current policing policy.
That said, anyone who hasn't yet submitted their anti-terror police search records and filled out Liberty's Section 44 Search Monitoring Form, please do so within the next fortnight so that that evidence can be included in the appeal. Post these to Liberty; 21 Tabard Street; London SE1 4LA. (If you were searched at a London protest but didn't receive a search record from the police, you can apply for the record from the police).
Additionally, if you plan to protest, bring the Liberty Section 44 Search Monitoring Form with you- it's got useful clear advise to help you if you get searched, and you may wish to jot down some notes on the Form during/after the search in case you plan to submit this information to Liberty.
(30 October 2003) Word just in! Tomorrow (Fri 31st) we expect a High Court ruling on the DSEi anti-terror searches case. The hearing will be at 10am in Court 2 of the Royal Courts of Justice. A small demonstration (banners, placards, leaflets) is planned outside the main entrance of the High Court from 9am-10am. Please come down and join the protest.
(28 October 2003) In a parliamentary written answer on the 15th of October, it was revealed that "during the period 6 March to 27 April 2003, the stop and search powers conferred by authorisations under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 were used on a total of 2,132 occasions in the vicinity of RAF Fairford."
It was additionally revealed that "so far this year the use of section 44 powers has been confirmed on 20 occasions within London. The power has been confirmed on 125 occasions for the rest of England".
The following week, the Secretary of State revealed that during the 31.5 months "between 19 February 2001 and 30 September 2003 a total of 653 authorisations by a senior police officer under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 received confirmation from the Secretary of State. "
(22 October 2003) This site now has a photos section. Click Images above to view. It has 4 pictures of a DSEi protest anti-terror search. The photos amount to 250k, so people with slow internet connections may find it slow to load the page.
(6 October 2003) The judicial review hearing in the High Court is now complete, and a judgement is expected within the next three weeks. The likely date of the judgement hearing will be posted here when known. People are invited to demonstrate outside the High Court, which is on the Strand. Visit the demonstration information page at http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk/44/44 for current demonstration support information.
One interesting fact emerged during the hearing at the high court. London has been under a continuous and rolling authorisation for Section 44 anti-terror searches since February 2001 (which is long before 11 September 2001). People are starting to report being subjected to anti-terror searches at other protests in London.
A special thanks is extended to all the activists who sent/faxed in their anti-terror search receipts. Of the 35 received 5 were not readable because of how the fax results came out. If you faxed in a copy, ring Liberty (020 7403 3888) to find out if your copy is readable, or just post a second copy to Liberty; 21 Tabard Street; London SE1 4LA
First of all, you may want to read about the DSEi protests, if you don't know about them already.
You can learn a great deal about the protests by looking at-
Urban 75 - http://www.urban75.com/Action/dsei.html
Indymedia UK (DSEi section) - http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2003/dsei/
Nonviolent Action - October 2003 Issue (DSEi Special) - Not yet available online, but available at your local activist bookshops or by mail - (more info at http://www.nvda-uk.net)
CAAT - http://www.caat.org.uk/ and their special section about DSEi - http://www.caat.org.uk/dsei/
Disarm DSEi (features info about DSEi protests until 7 September 2003) - http://www.dsei.org/
Secondly, you may wish to learn about the search powers that the Metropolitan police used at DSEi.
Section 44 Search Powers. Liberty is challenging the Metropolitan police's use of powers of stop and search which come from- The Terrorism Act 2000 (section 44) - http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00011--f.htm#44
Section 44 searches require no cause or suspicion whatsoever - anyone is vulnerable to these searches on any grounds, provided that the search powers are authorised. During March/April 2001, individual protesters were subjected to many searches every day (even by police officers who had watched the previous search!). At present, there seem to be no limitations on section 44 searches once they have been invoked.
Authorisation of Section 44 powers. These powers must be invoked by a police officer of sufficient rank, and then authorised by David Blunkett (Home Secretary) within 48 hours or they will cease to be available. At the Hearing, it was suggested that David Blunkett does not "rubber stamp" the applications for extention of powers beyond 48 hours, but only authorises the extensions in cases when the terror threat is great enough to justify these very powerful police powers.
Thirdly, you may wish to know that Liberty is still interested in receiving section 44 search receipt forms by post (even though the judicial review hearing took place on 2 October, 2003- there is still a possibility that Liberty will need to appeal a judgement that rules against their case). Please fill in the following form, and submit it by post to Liberty
SECTION 44 SEARCH MONITORING FORM (PDF - 50k)
Finally, you may want to know that the searches that took place at the September 6-12 arms fair protests in London were not the first time that these laws have been misused in against protesters.
Much worse misuse of the anti-terror search laws occured in Gloucestershire during the US invasion of Iraq (March-April, 2003). People protesting were searched many times in a single day. An 11 year old schoolgirl on her bicycle was searched under the anti-terror search powers. Guess what? No terrorists were found. For more info about this, visit the Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors Site (http://www.gwi.org.uk) and Liberty (http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/issues/terrorism.shtml).
For further example of heavy handed policing around the Fairford Base, visit The B-52 Two (arrested during an attempt at peaceful/accountable disarmament, Toby and Phil weren't permitted bail until they had spent 3 months in prison), and The Fairford Coach Action (120+ people were "coach-napped" by the police and prevented from attending a lawful demonstration at Fairford).
The High Cost of Policing the Fairford Base during the Invasion of Iraq
- The estimated cost of policing for Fairford base has recently been disclosed as £6.9 million. (Source: 6 October 2003 - Hansard Answers to Written Questions, Volume No. 410 Part, No. 139, Column 1234W)
- The Home Office initially insisted that Gloucestershire Police Authority covered a large portion of the £6.9 million, but eventually agreed to pay nearly all of this amount. Clearly, this means the UK taxpayers will bear this cost.
- The Home Office originally indicated that £375,000 must be met by the Gloucestershire Police Authority. (Source: 2nd Paragraph of Section 2 of Item 25 of Gloucestershire Police Authority Meeting Minutes, June 2003) Until late winter of 2004, the Gloucestershire Police Authority had not received increased funding from the government, but it had recently budgeted for 60 more Community Support Officers to reassure the public by "putting more uniformed officers on the streets." (Source: Page 2, Gloucestershire Police Authority Annual Report 2002-2003) Fortunately for the Gloucestershire Constabulary, the Government did eventually agree to provide additional funding to cover the extraordinary expenses incurred. See Hansards parliamentary record 10 Mar 2004 : Column 1586W, Question 157371 for a detailed comparison of the different amounts of additional funding received by UK police departments between 1999 and 2004.
- The cost of £375,000 to the Gloucestershire Police Authority is roughly equal to 17 annual salaries for newly recruited Community Support Officers in Gloucestershire. The Gloucestershire Police Authority Members have expressed concern that "following last year's high precept increase, there may be unjustly issues of credibility arising if local people do not see improvements in policing due to resources having been diverted." (Source: 3rd Paragraph of Section 2 of Item 25 of Gloucestershire Police Authority Meeting Minutes, June 2003)
- The cost of policing Fairford has not been simply a financial matter. In 2002/2003, the Gloucestershire Police Authority failed to either achieved targets or maintained good performance for 6 of the 9 targets stated for one of its stated five key objectives. (Source: Targets 3 & 5 of Objective 3, Page 5, Gloucestershire Police Authority Annual Report 2002-2003) Two of the missed targets were explained as effects of "divert[ing] a significant number of resources to Fairford, which became a national focus for peace protestors." (Source: Target 3 of Objective 3, Page 5, Gloucestershire Police Authority Annual Report 2002-2003) If the police had met these two targets, they would have managed to achieve targets/maintain good performance for at least half of the targets in each of its stated key objectives.
This site is hosted by The Fairford Coach Action, but does not reflect the collective views of the Fairford Coach Action group as a whole. It is edited by a single person. The Fairford Coach Action website hosts this mini-site because it also relates to a judicial review challenge of police tactics which interfered with protest. Mail can be posted to this mini-site via the following address ( 44NOSPAM@fairfordcoachaction.org.uk - but remove the words NOSPAM from the address before posting). We will attempt to respond as soon as possible, but there may be a delay in responses to any mail posted for the mini-site (due to small number of voluntary staff involved).