According to his pre-speech spin , Gordon Brown is set remove some more freedoms for innocent people, in his Labour Party conference speech this afternoon.
The BBC reports:
Stop and search
He will use his speech to back the use of stop and search powers in areas hit by gun crime.
Senior officers in ten existing street crime hotspots will be able to sweep areas in a bid to crack down on violent crime.
Mr Brown told the BBC: "I think anybody who knows that a few people with guns can disrupt a whole area will want the police to use these powers."
The move, which Mr Brown recognises may be controversial and revive memories of the old "sus" laws, will be part of a package of measures under the slogan "punish and prevent" which will also include plans to cut police paper work.
The Police already have massive powers of stop and search if they suspect that there is even a chance that someone is carrying illegal weapons. This is either a meaningless political stunt, or it means that Terrorism Act 2000 Section 44 style random stops and searches, without reasonable suspicion or any apology, will now be used to harass and intimate thousands of innocent people, presumably mostly young men from ethnic communities, just like the old "sus" laws which led to riots in the streets and general distrust and fear of the police, to the detriment of actually fighting crime.
Has there even been a single terrorist gun or bomb which has been discovered as a result of the tens of thousands of random Terrorism Act Section 44 stops and searches of vehicles and pedestrians ? Not so far as we can tell.
Intelligence lead policing specifically targeting gun crime has been used with some success by, say, the Metropolitan Police Service in their ongoing Operation Trident (now re-branded on the internet as Stop the Guns). Is this integrated, targeted approach to the problem now to be abandoned, simply for "marginal constituency" short term political advantage in case Gordon Brown decides to hold a General Election soon ?
We will be watching closely to see if there actually be any extra money made available by the Government to finance these "police sweeps"