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Baker: Trainspotters and passengers stopped using counter-terrorism powers

January 8, 2009 7:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

London Bridge Train Station PlatformsFigures obtained by the Liberal Democrats reveal that nearly 160,000 people were stopped by police officers on railway property in the year between October 2007 and September 2008. Of these, more than 60,000 were stopped using counter-terrorism powers. A further 60,000 were stopped using police stop and search powers.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Secretary, Norman Baker said:

"While it is important to be vigilant about the threat of terrorism to the transport network, the sheer scale of the number of people stopped by police on railway property is ridiculous.

"The anti-terror laws allow officers to stop people for taking photographs and I know that this has led to innocent trainspotters being stopped.

"This is an abuse of anti-terrorism powers and a worrying sign that we are sliding towards a police state. Trainspotting may be an activity of limited appeal, but it is not a criminal offence and it is not a terrorist threat.

"Law-abiding passengers get enough hassle on overcrowded trains as it is without the added inconvenience of overzealous policing."