Judges in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, today ruled that randomly stopping and searching people without having a reasonable suspicion that they have committed a crime, is illegal and a violation of Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention which states everyone has the right to ‘respect’ for their private and family life.
The claim was brought by Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton, who were stopped by police while on their way to a demonstration outside the annual arms fair at the Excel centre, in London's Docklands, in September 2003.
Quinton, a journalist, was ordered to stop filming the protest despite showing her press card, while Gillan, who was riding his bicycle, was only allowed to go on his way after 20 minutes. They were awarded €33,850 (£30,400) in costs and expenses.
The UK Government has stated that they may appeal and will be ignoring the ruling as Home secretary Alan Johnson said: ‘Police will continue to have these powers available to them.’
In my opinion, the Police will be now be behaving illegally under Human Rights legislation, if they search someone without reasonable suspicion, they would be held personally responsible, regardless of what the government policy is.
Full Judgement can be viewed here