The Home Office has refused our Freedom of Information Act request for geographical and duration details of the Terrorism Act 2000 Section 44 and 46 Authorisation Notifications
The Home Office is trying to argue that the Section 44 powers are a deterrent but that even the geographical extent of the Authorisations should be secret.
How effective can a secret deterrent be ?
These exceptional powers for Section 44 stop and search were specifically time and location limited by Parliament, and are not general , any time, any place, Police powers, but that is what the Home Office appears to be treating them as.
Are are they acting in excess of their legal powers - is this ultra vires ?
We argue that transparency would create a far more effective counter terrorism measure, by alerting the public to be extra vigilant in a particular place, at a particular time.
Better use of Police resources and less hassle for the law abiding public could be achieved, by publishing details of Section 44 Authorisations, perhaps on a map on the Home Office website. Law abiding members of the public could then avoid locations or times, where and when a temporary Section 44 Authorisation is in force, especially if they are carrying or transporting legal, but potentially suspicious items like shotguns, paintball guns, or ammonium nitrate based fertiliser etc.