In a statement to BJP following Jules Mattsson's stop and search on 06 July, the Metropolitan Police has reaffirmed that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act "remains legal and in place" at the moment
On Tuesday 06 July, at 2.15pm, young photographer Jules Mattsson was stopped and searched by police officers while he was taking images of Air Cadets in a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales.
BJP understands that the photographer had received permission from the cadets' supervisors to take photos that would be used by the Stoke Newington Squadron Air Training Corps on their website, however, another source tells BJP that the photographer was in a "sterile area," near the Prince of Wales, without any official accreditation.
Asked by BJP on the reasons why Mattsson was stopped, a Metropolitan Police spokesman says that "a plain clothes Police Officer stopped and searched a 16-year-old male under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act. The officer spoke to the male about his behaviour. No offences were apparent and no further action was taken by the officer."
The spokesman adds: "Although taking photos in itself is not an issue, if an officer witnesses what they deem to be suspicious behaviour then they are justified in carrying out a stop.In this instance the officer spoke to him about his behaviour. No offences were apparent and no further action was taken by the officer."
The Metropolitan Police has also confirmed to BJP that Section 44 remains in place. "The MPS continues to use S44 stop and search powers under the Terrorism Act 2000," says the spokesman. "S44 remains a legal power under current legislation. The current authority remains in place for it to be used at specific locations across London."
Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 requires reasonable suspicion that a person is a terrorist. Its usage is more limited than Section 44, which doesn't require suspicion. However, the European Court of Human Rights recently found Section 44 to be illegal.
The act's Section 43 reads: "A constable may stop and search a person whom he reasonably suspects to be a terrorist to discover whether he has in his possession anything which may constitute evidence that he is a terrorist."
The 06 July incident came less than two weeks after the same photographer was stopped and detained by police officers claiming he represented a terrorism risk. Mattsson, at the time, recorded his conversations with police officers. For more details and to listen to the recording, read our full report here.
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