Friday 28 August 2009

Detained under the Terrorism Act

Well, I can’t say this has ever happened to me before – I’ve just been detained under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.

That only meant being searched on Victoria Station, but still a surprise. It was particularly a surprise for three reasons. First, the embarrassed look on the British Transport Police officer who stopped me. I felt rather sorry for him.

Second, why it should take three of them to do it – one to search, one to hold a clipboard and one to stand around watching? It can’t have been target driven and I couldn’t help wondering whether there was some other priority that might have better taken their time.

Finally, why they stopped me. I asked them this and, after some persuasion, they said it was my stripy shirt. Apparently it made me stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t actually believe this, especially as the form I received as a souvenir said they are not actually allowed to stop someone because of their clothes. And after all, what is it about terrorists that make them wear multi-coloured striped shirts?

No, I’m sure they stopped me because they couldn’t categorise me – dressed like a tourist (white shorts, white socks), carrying piles of papers on my way to a library, evidently either unemployed or self-employed. What does this mean? I suppose, like so much else in New Labour Britain, it means that people and families who look non-standard are under increasing suspicion, whether it is as potential terrorists or child abusers.

The police were nice about it, though, and it kind of made my day. Also, most important, it gave me something to write about here.


Colin Ross said...

When I was stopped it was made fairly clear to me that they had to stop enough White people to allow then to stop more Black and Asian people!

Jock Coats said...

Suspicious looking spectacles I'd say. Lucky they didn't find any "funny money" on you - that would have been 27 nights in Belmarsh and no mistake!

They can be as nice as they want, but the Neuremburg defense is no defense at all. Come the (non-aggressive) anarchic revolution they'd have their day in court for unlawful detention just as their bosses would. It's disgusting.

I wonder if they have ever caught anyone with any connection to terrorism at all in these randomized fishing trips. It is itself a form of terror in my opinion, in its original memaning as in the "reign of".

Richard Coe said...

The Police used to allowed to stop you for driving an 845cc Renault 5. It was terrible because at the time I owned one and was stopped roughly every 8-12 weeks.

As I owned the best maintained 845cc Renault 5 in the country they could never fault it. Although they actually broke a bit off it (by accident) on one occasion.