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Well, that was fun.. I was stopped and searched at the station by police, who obviously wanted to make up their quota of smartly dressed white guys, to balance out the actual terror suspects that they've been going after..

But it fills me with great confidence in the system, because the whole thing was all very professional, and at the end they gave me a copy of all the information they took down about me, so I know what they know about me.. They also gave me a piece of paper which explains why they stopped me, which combined with the Internet led me to the following:

(44.2) An authorisation under this subsection authorises any constable in uniform to stop a pedestrian in an area or at a place specified in the authorisation and to search-
(a) the pedestrian;
(b) anything carried by him.

(44.3) An authorisation under subsection (1) or (2) may be given only if the person giving it considers it expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism.

(45.1) The power conferred by an authorisation under section 44(1) or (2)-
(a) may be exercised only for the purpose of searching for articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism, and
(b) may be exercised whether or not the constable has grounds for suspecting the presence of articles of that kind.

So with that in mind, assuming they've been instructed by their commanders that they're to stop and search people at the station, and provided they're in uniform, they can more or less do what they want. Still, being searched beats being shot in the head ;o)

As part of the wonderful beaurocracy involved in police matters, they took down the following details:

Last name, first name, address, postcode, date of birth, place of birth (Oxford), sex (Male), hair (short fair), upper clothing (black shirt), lower clothing (black trousers), footwear (black shoes), build (proportionate), height (6'2"), PNC ID code (IC1 (white, north European)), ethnic classification (W1/WI not sure which it says).

I was stopped under the authority of section 44(2) of the terrorism act, no clothing was removed, no intimate parts were exposed. It was at the barriers at Bristol Temple Meads Station at 0844 on 02.06.2006, on the grounds of "random terrorism search". And I confirmed that I have never been in trouble with the police before.

So yes, it was quite good fun really.. oddly, I didn't at any point feel guilty or worried - I just thought "how cool". I guess it's because I've never been stopped by the police before, in fact, I don't think I've ever really spoken to a policeman since primary school.. And I guess it's partly because, as a well spoken white gentleman wearing a shirt and smart trousers, I don't really think I have anything to actually fear from the police. After all, they're people too, and if I don't give them cause to beat me sensless there's a good chance that they won't..

Anyway, that was my little bit of excitement for the morning.. now to, y'know, work and stuff..

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(Deleted comment)
Why? Nowt wrong with it.. They checked my bag and jacket for bombs and guns and stuff, but that's about it.. They were polite throughout, and made sure that I knew what was happening and why.. It was good fun :o)

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