While heading into the Liverpool Street Station, I was politely stopped and inquired about my business and what am I carrying in my rucksack. I wanted to take a picture and asked them if they would allow me to do so, they declined, politely again. I dont mind, I am happy to be checked. As you can see from my facebook profile, my celebrity look alike is Josef Stalin! Plus as I am usually shambling around like an absent minded professorial bear, I am definitely suspicious! :).
But a simple thing like increased random spot checks has a massive impact on terrorist activities. Roughly speaking, a simple 1% increase in counter terrorism checks will have a ten times deadening impact on terrorist activities, specially if the counter terrorist checks are well communicated and planned. Of course there is no hard and fast rule, but you can think of the long chain in planning attacks and all the various places where these random checks can trip the terrorists up!
Good for you, Britain's finest, keep up the good work.
Over the next few months police officers are being encouraged to use stop and search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 across London to deter, disrupt and prevent terrorist activity, Scotland Yard announced Monday.
Metropolitan Police Commander Rod Jarman warned the public that they may see a further increase in overt counter terrorism activities by the police despite the controversy provoked by the emergency powers that have led to so few arrests and convictions.
"To compliment out more covert methods of fighting terrorism, we must have a more visible presence to deter and prevent terrorist activity," Jarman insisted.
He appealed for support from the public "for co-operation and patience while we carry out these important duties to help keep London safe." The warning came as Scotland Yard put out its latest statistics showing that the number of stop and searches had been already dramatically increased in the wake of the recent failed car bombs in London and at Glasgow airport.
The number of stop and searches under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 rose to 10,948 in July, more than five times the monthly average of 2,114 in the past year.
In justifying the huge increase, Scotland Yard said that the threat from terrorism is "real and serious" and can strike at any time and any place without warning.
"Terrorists need to travel - meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere. Terrorists need transport - they need to move equipment, material and people around," it said, adding they also need to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance to plan attacks.
The warning acknowledged that people being stopped by police may be inconvenienced, but said it was "our duty to protect the public and their patience and co-operation will help keep London safe." Official figures show that 22,672 stops carried out in the 12 month period between September 2005 and October 2006, but that they had led to only 26 arrests on terrorism-related charges.
Asian people were also found to be 30 per cent more likely to be stopped than others in London, and within the financial district of the City of London they are 80 per cent more likely to be stopped.
Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 police are able to stop and search anyone without any responsible suspicion in an area that has been designated a likely target for an attack, like at airports.
Figures show that the powers have been also used mostly at transport hubs, outside government buildings and at iconic sites and tourist attractions as well as financial centers.