Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

12 January 2010

UK police must end stop and search without suspicion

UK police must end stop and search without suspicion
The UK government must scrap abusive, discriminatory and unlawful powers that allow the police to stop and search without reasonable suspicion, Amnesty International said on Tuesday after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that their use was illegal.

The European court has been hearing a case involving two protesters, Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton, who were stopped near a protest against an arms fair in London in 2003 by police acting under the 2000 Terrorism Act, which allows senior officers to authorize stop and search procedures without reasonable suspicion.

The Court ruled their right to respect for a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

"These police powers to stop and search under the Terrorism Act clearly violate people’s right to privacy and family life and the government must act urgently to scrap them," said Halya Gowan of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme.

The Court also said it was "struck by the statistical and other evidence" showing that these powers disproportionately affected black and Asian people, although the applicants in this case were not from a Black or Asian minority ethnic background.

In the past, Amnesty International expressed serious concern about police powers to stop and search people without suspicion of any wrongdoing.

"These powers also contravene the rights to liberty, freedom of expression and assembly, and freedom from arbitrary detention, all of which the UK is bound to uphold," said Halya Gowan.


Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 
Freedom Of Expression 
Law Enforcement 




Europe And Central Asia 

@amnestyonline on twitter


18 September 2014

Nigeria’s police and military routinely torture women, men, and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods including beatings, shootings and rape... Read more »

19 September 2014

The Guatemalan government is fuelling the fires of conflict by failing to consult local communities before awarding mining licences to companies.

Read more »
23 September 2014

The life sentence handed down by a Chinese court to prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti on charges of “separatism” is an affront to justice.

Read more »
23 September 2014

The abandoning of a draconian anti-abortion bill that threatened the health, dignity and lives of women and girls in Spain is a step in a positive direction, Amnesty... Read more »

22 September 2014

Turkey began to close some of its border crossings with Syria after 130,000 Kurdish refugees poured into the country in recent days fleeing the advance of the armed group... Read more »