If you do, they might have to search you.
Members of the public are being stopped and searched under controversial anti-terror laws to racially balance the overall official figures, the Government's watchdog over the issue said today.
Lord Carlile of Berriew, QC, also said people are being stopped by police when there is not the slightest possibility of the individual being a terrorist.
He warned of the “poor and unnecessary” use of special powers which give police the ability to stop anyone in a designated area without them having “reasonable suspicion”.
Here we have the ultimate fusion of postmodern racial sensitivity with premodern police thuggery. Section 44 of the British Terror Act of 2000 authorizes the police, in designated areas of concern, to stop anyone at any time, and search him, with no requirement of probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or even a hunch, based on the fact the suspect was wearing say, a shamrock t-shirt, or carrying a box-cutter and a Koran.
That's appalling enough.
But according to the official charged with monitoring police as they use this invasive power, the cops know they'll be charged with racism if they abuse it only against people who are stereotyped as likely terrorists. To prevent that, they're going out of their way to bother everyone, from grandmothers to Australian tourists carrying cameras. Then at least, no one can accuse them of being unfair.
"I cannot see a justification for the whole of the Greater London area being covered permanently. The intention of the section was not to place London under permanent special search powers."
None of the many thousands of searches had ever led to a conviction for a terrorist offence, he said.
If, in the nine years this law has been on the books, it has never succeeded in its avowed purpose of catching a terrorist, why not repeal it? Why not require the police to articulate some justifiable suspicion before they can stop and search anyone, as they must in the rest of England and in every other liberal democracy?
But that can't happen, because it might prevent them from balancing search quotas to prove that the British police aren't prejudiced.