Police say they still have permission to use stop and search powers, despite a European ruling that they are in breach of the Human Rights Act.

Since the Home Office has pledged to appeal the decision, the Metropolitan Police says its authorisation "remains in force in specified locations across London".

Under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, officers are authorised to stop individuals "without reasonable suspicion". Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the powers carried "a clear risk of arbitrariness", and that they breached the right to respect for private and family life protected by Article Eight of the Human Rights Act.

The judgement was a victory for Kevin Gillan and Pennie Quinton, who were stopped and searched on their way to protests outside Excel's DSEi arms fair in 2003.

Nevertheless, the Met has confirmed that it will continue to use the powers "following legal advice", as "stop and search can deter and disrupt terrorist activity and create a hostile environment for terrorists".


Since July last year, these powers have been scaled back to "significant locations, such as iconic sites and crowded places". A Met spokesman refused to identify these areas, saying that keeping them secret was "a police tactic".

He said: "If we revealed where the locations are, people would take more care in those locations or move to other places.

"Our aim is to catch people rather than to prevent effectively. It's important we don't create a map of safe and unsafe areas for these people to use."

Photographer rights group I'm A Photographer, Not a Terrorist held a protest against the "draconian" stop and search rules in Canary Wharf in September. It has been urging members to tag places where they have been stopped on the group's online map, helping it to identify Section 44 hot-spots.


Freelancer and co-organiser Jess Hurd said: "The logic of their argument is skewed. There's a reason why there was a unanimous decision. It's because everyone thought it was wrong.

"We do know that the City of London is in one of these areas, as are parts of Docklands, because that's where we're stopped continually."

The group is inviting professional and amateur photographers to another "mass photo gathering" in Trafalgar Square at noon on Saturday (January 23).

Ms Hurd said: "It's not just Section 44 we're up against. Colleagues have been stopped and harassed for other things.

"A photographer was outside Hamleys before Christmas working for a paper, and was accused of being a paedophile. He had displayed his press card and was asking permission from guardians before taking pictures of the children. He was doing everything by the book.

"It's an outrage. We're criminals because we have a camera."