Mr Clarke: Concerns about police powers have been widely expressed, particularly in regard to stop and search. I want to make it clear that the Bill, and the introduction of identity cards, will make no difference to the general powers of the police to stop people for no reason and demand proof of identity. The Bill will make no difference to the powers that exist under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. In fact, quicker, reliable access to confirmed identification would help to reduce the time a suspected person might spend in police custody. The effect of that would be to reduce the number of people wrongly held in police custody while their identity was being checked, which would be of benefit to the individual and to the police.
I also want to confirm that there is no requirement to carry an identity card at all times, as there have been many questions about that.
NEW anti-terrorism laws are to be pushed through before Tony Blair leaves office giving “wartime” powers to the police to stop and question people.
John Reid, the home secretary, who is also quitting next month, intends to extend Northern Ireland’s draconian police powers to interrogate individuals about who they are, where they have been and where they are going.
Under the new laws, police will not need to suspect that a crime has taken place and can use the power to gain information about “matters relevant” to terror investigations.
If suspects fail to stop or refuse to answer questions, they could be charged with a criminal offence and fined up to £5,000. Police already have the power to stop and search people but they have no right to ask for their identity and movements.
BBC online’s heading on the latter matter was “Stop and quiz powers considered” which seems much less frightening.
“Good evening, Sir. What was the subject of the Pet Shop Boys’ 2006 single Integral?”