Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sus Laws: Have We learned From History?

If you are as old as I am, you will remember the furore in the seventies and eighties concerning the so called sus laws.
As an aside, everybody got the laws mixed up at the time and the issue wasn't with S4 Vagrancy Act 1824, as suggested by Wikipedia, which was not a power of search, but was all about the various powers of search held by police officers at the time. The main focus was in London and the real problem was S66 Metropolitan Police Act 1839 (on which little material is now available).
It is argued that stop and search led to the Brixton Riots and the subsequent report by Lord Justice Scarman.
Therefore, we have learned that stop and search is to be used sparingly in a proportionate manner.
It is fortunate that Hayle Town Council has learned the lessons of history. In response to a complaint from one resident, the council has decided that the time is right to empower police to approach dog owners and demand the production of dog waste bags. As reported by This Is Cornwall: Hayle Town Council has decided to ask Cornwall Council to amend its dog control order to give officers the power to check if a dog-owner has bags on them, after a Hayle resident complained that dog mess was a big problem in the town.
No longer will it be "excuse me, sir, please hand me that knife you're carrying" or, "madam, I believe you have a weapon in your bag". It will now be "come along, sir, get your bags out".
Let's hope that Hayle doesn't face the same backlash as that, which was experienced by London in the eighties.
Article here.


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