Human Rights Watch has called for the repeal of UK's Terrorism Act 2000. In particular they are targetting section 44 that gives police wide ranging powers to stop-and-search.
"The 64-page report, " Without Suspicion: Stop and Search under the Terrorism Act 2000," examines the use of the stop-and-search power under section 44 of the act"Human Rights Watch
In the two years between April '07 and April '09 at least 450 000 people were subjected to stop-and-search by authorities, yet not one person was found to have material related to terrorism.
Religion was not a feature mentioned on the reports, but it was found that those people who had darker skin or were of SE Asian ancestry were stopped more frequently than light skinned people. Children were sometimes targetted by the authorities.
Human Rights Watch goes on to say that while safeguards for civil liberties are written into the act, they are ineffective and leave a potential for abuse by authorities.
The UK Terrorism Act 2000 has wide ranging powers to thwart terrorists. It has the potential for abuse of power and racial profiling. Failure to cooperate with authorities can lead to fines and up to six months in jail.
Following is an excerpt from the Terrorism Act 2000.
"(1) An authorisation under this subsection authorises any constable in uniform to stop a vehicle in an area or at a place specified in the authorisation and to search—
(a) the vehicle;
(b) the driver of the vehicle;
(c) a passenger in the vehicle;
(d) anything in or on the vehicle or carried by the driver or a passenger.
(2) An authorisation under this subsection authorises any constable in uniform to stop a pedestrian in an area or at a place specified in the authorisation and to search—
(a) the pedestrian;
(b) anything carried by him."Terrorism Act 2000
Under Section 44 of the act, a uniformed constable may stop a person without any suspicion that they are a terrorist. And to date they have not found any stopped under this authority to be connected to terrorism. If the authorities stop-and-search and find nothing related to terrorism, but find illicit drugs for example, they may use a different authorization to detain the individual.