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Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, and Exile
The law prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions. However, arrests may be made without judicial warrants, particularly in Northern Ireland, when police have reasonable cause to suspect wrongdoing and antiterrorism legislation gives authorities broad powers of arrest, detention, and interrogation.
In Great Britain, regional police forces are responsible for maintaining law and order. There are 44 regional police services covering England and Wales and 8 policing Scotland. In Northern Ireland, the PSNI has that responsibility. In some areas of Northern Ireland, because of the continuing threat of violence, army units reinforce the PSNI. There were approximately 13,400 British troops stationed in Northern Ireland, one of the lowest levels since the early 1970s.
There were isolated cases where police corruption was alleged. The authorities actively investigated these cases. Home Office figures for 2001-2002 revealed that 7 of the 898 substantiated complaints against police officers were related to corruption. The provisions of the 2002 Police Reform Act introduced a program for reforming a wide range of practices and powers. It requires the Government to produce an annual National Policing Plan and a nationwide Code of Practice for Chief Officers and institutes a new national system for responding to complaints against police officers
Reports by official bodies and NGOs suggested that the public lacked confidence in existing procedures for making complaints against the police. The Police Reform Act provides that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will replace the PCA in April 2004. The legislation grants the IPCC its own body of civilian investigators with the power to investigate allegations of police misconduct completely separately from the police. The IPCC provides for: Greater involvement of the complainant in the investigation; greater openness in disclosing materials to the complainant; more effective powers to direct that disciplinary charges be laid against police officers; and greater independence of the person carrying out the IPCC investigation. All deaths in police custody will be referred to the IPCC. The Act also provides for a National Policing Plan to set priorities for policing and measures to ensure the most effective methods are used by all police forces.
The armed forces have a procedure to handle complaints of racial and other forms of harassment. Military personnel also have the right to submit complaints to employment tribunals. In 1998, the armed services entered into a 5-year agreement with the CRE to promote racial equality practices. In 2002, the Crown Prosecution Service entered into a partnership with the CRE designed to assist in its continued progress towards the elimination of racial discrimination.
In October, the Crown Prosecution Service released its first report on England and Wales under the Diversity Monitoring Project. The report's findings suggest that African Caribbean and Asian defendants tended to be prosecuted on the basis of weaker evidence than white defendants. The study recommended the appointment of specialist prosecutors for racist and religious crimes to oversee the prosecution and monitoring of such cases, as well as the establishment of a "common standard" to allow prosecuting advocates and Chief Crown Prosecutors to improve the quality of case review.
During the year, the Government began consultations to review, among other things, whether to extend hiring quotas in the PSNI. The quotas were scheduled to expire in March 2004. The Patten Report on Policing in Northern Ireland, released in 2000, established hiring quotas to increase Catholic representation in the PSNI, and also introduced new human rights standards and wider use of community policing practices. Respect for human rights was part of the appraisal process for staff evaluation. A cross-community Policing Board holds the Chief Constable Hugh Orde and the police service accountable. Sinn Fein has refused to participate in the Board and has declined to encourage Catholics to join the police, as called for in the Patten Report.
In a December report, the Oversight Commissioner charged with reviewing the implementation of the 175 Patten recommendations which stated that "all of the institutions (involved in the policing of Northern Ireland) continued to make excellent progress in implementing a program of change in policing that may be the most sweeping and complex ever attempted in a modern society." The Commissioner noted areas of progress such as the introduction of "a human rights-based approach to policing," the establishment of District Policing Partnerships to help hold the PSNI accountable to citizens, the introduction of community policing, and "improved methods of public order policing." However, the Commissioner criticized the failure to implement fully all sections of the Patten Report, and noted the lack of government funding to address the deteriorating conditions of police facilities, the lack of a "concrete plan for the implementation of an early warning system on police conduct," and delays in restructuring the Special Branch. The Commissioner also stated that "there is no reasonable explanation for (the) delay in providing a new training center for police officers."
In October, a North Wales Police officer, three Greater Manchester officers and a Cheshire officer resigned after the airing of a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary program that included hidden-camera footage of the officers making explicitly racist statements and expressing hostility towards an Asian recruit. Another North Wales officer and two more from the Manchester force were suspended. All three police forces involved strongly condemned the behavior shown on the film and promised to do more to eliminate racism. Home Secretary David Blunkett said the footage was "horrendous" and urged better diversity training for recruits. The CRE opened an investigation into racism in the police service, which remained ongoing at year's end.
The 2000 Terrorism Act, which entered into force in 2001, widened the definition of terrorism and extends mechanisms that deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland, to all of the United Kingdom. It provides for emergency powers specific to Northern Ireland for a period not exceeding 5 years, including special entry, arrest, search, and seizure authority without a warrant under certain circumstances.
Article 44 of the Terrorism Act allows senior police officers to designate areas where police have exceptional power to stop and search wherever a senior police officer considers it expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism. The designation lapses after 48 hours unless confirmed by a Cabinet minister, such as the Home Secretary. There is no provision for judicial review of Article 44 designations and no requirement that the public be informed an area has been so designated until an actual search takes place. After protesters were stopped and searched in London's Docklands, in September, Scotland Yard confirmed that all of greater London has been continuously under Article 44 designation since 2001. The NGO Liberty challenged Scotland Yard and the Home Secretary in court, arguing the designation is unlawfully broad; it remained pending at year's end.
Police officers may only stop and search vehicles and pedestrians if a senior police officer "reasonably believes" it is expedient to do so to prevent acts of violence. Article 44 of the Terrorism Act provides law enforcement authorities with the power to detain without charge individuals suspected of having committed a terrorism-related offense for up to 48 hours. This period may be extended by court order for a maximum of seven days.
The Anti-Terrorism, Crime, and Security Act of 2001 includes provisions to cut off terrorist access to funds; ensure better information sharing between agencies; enhance police investigative powers, tighten security in relation to aviation, civil nuclear sites, and laboratories; prevent terrorists from abusing immigration and asylum laws; and enable swift action to implement European Union (EU)-agreed anti-terrorism measures.
This Act also allows for extended detention of immigrants and asylum seekers suspected of being terrorists but who cannot be removed from the country immediately. Human rights groups object to provisions of these laws, arguing that they reverse the burden of proof and provide inadequate safeguards against abuse by law enforcement officials. These objections focused on the broad definition of terrorism employed in the law, the proscriptive powers of the state, and the powers of arrest, detention, and interrogation. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled in 2002 that these detention powers were unlawful and violated the Government's obligation under the European Convention of Human Rights. The Government appealed the ruling, and in 2002, the Court of Appeals ruled that the detention powers complied with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Defendants awaiting trial have a statutory right to bail except when there is a risk that they would flee, commit another offense, or in other limited circumstances. Defendants who are remanded into custody are covered by statutory custody time limits, which restrict the period for which they can be held while awaiting trial to a maximum of 16 weeks, unless the court grants an extension.
The law gives administrative detention power to immigration officers. There is no time limit to such detention, but detainees have the right to request a judicial review or an application for habeas corpus (see Sections 1.c. and 2.d.). The Government provided all immigration detainees with written notice specifying the reasons for their detention at the time they are detained and provided detainees with automatic monthly updates on their case. The law permits all detainees to apply for bail. There were no set levels of surety for bail, and surety was not required in every case.
While there is no law prohibiting forced exile, the Government did not employ it.
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