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I know the police make mistakes but...
Published on September 23, 2005 By joeKnowledge In Current Events
I, for one, do not like the terrorism act.

The US Patriot Act seems less intruding than England version. I know I can be arrested for any reason at any time, like for example searching on Google and my library record taken to use against me.

For the sake of safety, i can be held for days, months or years and my family will not know.

I don't like that.

I am sure many people here will say ts worth it, but when it comes to England's version, I don't know..

Here is a quote from someone who they picked for being a geek:

Suspicious behaviour on the tube

A London underground station was evacuated and part of a main east-west line closed in a security alert on Thursday, three weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people on the transport network, police said. (Reuters)

This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting: "Nice laptop." The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan police. Then they arrested me.

7.10 pm: From my workplace in Southwark, south London, I arrange by text message to meet my girlfriend at Hanover Square. To save time - as I suppose - I decide to take the tube to Bond Street instead of my usual bus. I am wearing greenish Merrell shoes, black trousers, T-shirt, black Gap jumper, light rainproof Schott jacket and grey Top Shop cap. I am carrying a black rucksack I use as a workbag.

7.21 pm: I enter Southwark tube station, passing uniformed police by the entrance, and more police beyond the gate. I walk down to the platform, peering down at the steps as, thanks to a small eye infection, I'm wearing specs instead of my usual contact lenses. The next train is scheduled to arrive in a few minutes. As other people drift on to the platform, I sit down against the wall with my rucksack still on my back. I check for messages on my phone, then take out a printout of an article about Wikipedia from inside my jacket and begin to read.

The train enters the station. Uniformed police officers appear on the platform and surround me. They must immediately notice my French accent, still strong after living more than 12 years in London.

They handcuff me, hands behind my back, and take my rucksack out of my sight. They explain that this is for my safety, and that they are acting under the authority of the Terrorism Act. I am told that I am being stopped and searched because:

· they found my behaviour suspicious from direct observation and then from watching me on the CCTV system;

· I went into the station without looking at the police officers at the entrance or by the gates;

· two other men entered the station at about the same time as me;

· I am wearing a jacket "too warm for the season";

· I am carrying a bulky rucksack, and kept my rucksack with me at all times;

· I looked at people coming on the platform;

· I played with my phone and then took a paper from inside my jacket.

They empty the contents of my pockets into two of their helmets, and search me, and loosen my belt. One or two trains arrive and depart, with people getting on and off. Then another train arrives and moves slowly through the station. The driver is told not to stop. After that, no more trains pass through the station.

We move away from the platform into the emergency staircase. I sit down on the (dirty) steps. The police say they can't validate my address. I suggest they ask the security guard where I work, two streets away. We go up to the station doors, and I realise that the station is cordoned off. Two bomb squad officers pass by. One turns to me and says in a joking tone: "Nice laptop!" A police officer apologises on behalf of the Metropolitan police, and explains that we are waiting for a more senior officer to express further apologies. They take off the handcuffs and start giving me back my possessions: my purse, keys, some papers. Another police officer says that this is not proper. I am handcuffed again. A police van arrives and I am told that I will wait in the back. After about five minutes, a police officer formally arrests me.

8.53pm Arrested for suspicious behaviour and public nuisance, I am driven to Walworth police station. I am given a form about my rights. I make one correction to the police statement describing my detention: no train passed before I was stopped. I empty my pockets of the few things they had given me back at the tube station, and am searched again. My possessions are put in evidence bags. They take Polaroid photographs of me. A police officer fingerprints me and takes DNA swabs from each side of my mouth.

10:06pm I am allowed a call to my girlfriend. She is crying and keeps repeating: "I thought you were injured or had an accident, where were you, why didn't you call me back?" I explain I'm in a police station, my phone was taken and the police wouldn't allow me to call. She wants to come to the station. I ask her to stay at home as I don't know how long it will take.

For more, read the article...




Just in case someone says something about the jacket:
While a police officer did state that my rain jacket was "too warm for the season", could it have been instead that the weather was too cold for the season? The day before had been the coldest July day for 25 years.

People make mistakes, but when it effects your life, it might not be so harmless.

How many people here would fit the disctiption of the man in the article? Bloody hell allot!

Comments
on Sep 23, 2005
My feeling on reading this story is that fairly early on it became reasonably clear that the man in question was probably innocent, but either through a need to save face, or the fact that procedures of this kind, once started, have to run their course, he was subject to a lot of unnecessary hassle. Whether or not this is because of the illiberality of British anti-terrorism laws, or because of standard operational procedures, I really don't know.

Police forces everywhere can be plodding and bureaucratic (there's always an element of being 'safe rather than sorry'). It is highly unlikely that American law-enforcement officers in a similar 'post subway bomb' situation would be any less 'difficult', so I'm not sure that it is necessarily to do with UK anti-terrorism legislation being less liberal than the Patriot Act - but I'd have to read up on both to be sure.

The one thing that I really didn't like here was the way that the incident remains permanently "on file", even though he is totally cleared, even though I can see a justification for it.

Interesting post.
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