Asians searched more to check terror activities in London

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London, Sep 26 (UNI) Asians are twice more likely to be stopped and searched compared to whites under anti-terror laws here, new figures have revealed.

Police has increased checks by more than six times after the failed car bombing attack in the city last June.

At least 32,395 individuals have been stopped in the past five months and more than 70,000 are likely to be searched by this year's end if the trend continued.

The figures included 6,755 Asians, comprising around 20 per cent of the total, 4,287 black people and 17,348 whites. The vast majority of people stopped were males in the 21 to 40 age group.

Searches reached a peak after the Haymarket car bombs when more than 350 people were stopped each day in July.

The figures from Scotland Yard prompted fears that Police was using the powers provided by the 'Terrorism Act 2000' too often.

A review was called by the Metropolitan Police Authority over concerns that the Muslim population was being unnecessarily targeted.

Most of the checks were carried out by police patrolling Westminster near the centre of iconic sites such as the Houses of Parliament which are considered prime targets for an al Qaeda attack, the figures revealed.

The decision to release the statistics by borough follows controversy over the Met's use of the Section 44 power of the Terrorism Act 2000. The law allows police to search any person or vehicle in a designated area without the need for reasonable grounds for suspicion.

Counter terrorist commanders believe that while the power rarely leads to the arrest of a terrorist, it is vital for disrupting and deterring terrorist activity.

A Scotland Yard spokesman claimed no single community was singled-out or targeted for the random stops. Though in some boroughs the level of disproportionality was higher than the Met average, he said, adding that a number of possible factors affecting the disproportionality were responsible, including the street or transient population.

In charge Met's stop and search operations Commander Rod Jarman said, ''By releasing this data we are being open and accountable to local communities. Terrorists live, work and blend in to our communities.'' ''To compliment our covert methods of fighting terrorism we have a more visible presence to deter and disrupt terrorist activity,'' he said, adding that public support, cooperation and patience was necessary to keep London safe.

UNI

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