Appendix: Official guidance on the Terrorism
PACE Code A provides the following guidance to the
notion of reasonable suspicion:
"2.2: Reasonable grounds for suspicion depend
on the circumstances in each case. There must be an objective
basis for that suspicion based on facts, information, and/or intelligence
which are relevant to the likelihood of finding an article of
a certain kind or, in the case of searches under section 43 of
the Terrorism Act 2000, to the likelihood that the person is a
terrorist. Reasonable suspicion can never be supported on the
basis of personal factors alone without reliable supporting intelligence
or information or some specific behaviour by the person concerned.
For example, a person's race, age, appearance, or the fact that
the person is known to have a previous conviction, cannot be used
alone or in combination with each other as the reason for searching
that person. Reasonable suspicion cannot be based on generalisations
or stereotypical images of certain groups or categories of people
as more likely to be involved in criminal activity.
2.3: Reasonable suspicion can sometimes exist without
specific information or intelligence and on the basis of some
level of generalisation stemming from the behaviour of the person.
For example, if an officer encounters someone on the street at
night who is obviously trying to hide something, the officer may
(depending on other surrounding circumstances) base such suspicion
on the fact that this kind of behaviour is often linked to stolen
or prohibited articles being carried. Similarly, for the purposes
of section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, suspicion that a person
is a terrorist may arise from the person's behaviour at or near
a location which has been identified as a potential target for
The Home Office provides the following guidance to
stops and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act:
"The authorisation should specify whether it
applies across the entire force area, across a particular part
of the force area, or only at a particular place (forces are asked
to consider providing supporting intelligence on potential targets
where the powers are restricted to a particular place). It must
also specify the period for which the authorisation has effect,
up to a maximum of 28 days. Each authorisation must be signed,
dated and timed by the authorising officer. Where authorisation
is given orally, the authorising officer must confirm it in writing
as soon as it is reasonably practicable.
Section 45 is concerned with exercise of power. Searches
under section 44, whether of vehicles or pedestrians, may be carried
out only for the purpose of looking for articles of a kind which
may be used in connection with terrorism. However, a search may
be carried out whether or not a police officer has grounds for
suspecting the presence of any such articles and he may seize
and retain any items he discovers during the search which he reasonably
suspects may be intended for use in connection with terrorism,
A police officer may not ask anyone whom he stops and searches
to remove any clothing in public except the following: headgear,
footwear, an outer coat, jacket or gloves.
An officer may detain a vehicle or pedestrian for
as long as is considered reasonable to effect a search at or near
the place where the initial stop takes place. Police are required
to provide a written statement on application from the driver
of a vehicle stopped under section 44(1) or from a pedestrian
stopped under section 44(2). All requests must be made within
12 months from the date on which the vehicle or pedestrian was
Section 46 makes provision for the duration of authorisation.
Any authorisation given under section 44 must end on the last
date or at the time specified in the authorisation, and that time
or date must fall within a period of 28 days beginning with the
day on which the authorisation was given. An authorisation must
also be confirmed by the Secretary of State within 48 hours of
the time it was given or it will cease to have effect and render
any further exercise of the powers under section 44 unlawful.
The 'clock starts ticking' at the time at which the form is signed
or from the moment the authorising officer gives oral authorisation.
The Secretary of State may, when confirming the authorisation,
stipulate a shorter period during which the authorisation is to
have effect than that initially specified in the authorisation.
The Secretary of State may also cancel the authorisation with
effect from a time specified by him. The authorisation may be
renewed in writing by the officer who gave it or by another officer
of sufficient rank."
250 Home Office circular 3/2001 Back