Footnote 1 - A potted history of stop and search powers Sec 43 & 44

Wednesday, 08 August 2007

Footnote 1 The data used for the section 43 and 44 graphs was obtained with freedom of information requests to the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) and the British Transport Police (BTP). A year ago, neither the Home Office nor Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, had any data on the use of section 43. The Home Office explained in May 2009, '[s]tatistics on the number of Section 43 stop/searches carried out by Police Forces is not collated centrally; any statistics are collated by individual Police Forces.' Since my requests, the Home Office has regularly published section 43 statistics from the Met in its Home Office Statistical Bulletins. In this instance, the Met was helpful, but the BTP initially refused to provide section 43 or 44 statistics and required some further persuasion from the Information Commissioner's Office. One of the stated reason for non disclosure was that '[t]he law enforcement role of the force could very possibly be compromised by the release of this information.' Considering that it was common for other police forces to publish section 44 statistics and that some section 43 data had published in a Metropolitan Police Authority report into 7/7, this was a surprising reasoning!

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