Think tank: We’ve all been made criminals -Times Online

Ordinary, upright citizens are now spied on, stopped and searched, arrested at gunpoint, DNA-swabbed and criminalised, for no good reason other than that some officer of the state has the power to do it, and is incentivised to do it.

The ink was hardly dry on the Terrorism Act 2000 before it was used to arrest Dundonian Sally Cameron, 34. Her crime wasn’t some conspiracy to blow up Dundee; it was daring to walk along a cycle path. Two squad cars roared up on her and she was carted off to the cells.

Then octogenarian Walter Wolfgang, who had escaped the Nazis and become a Labour activist in Britain, was arrested under the same law for merely heckling Jack Straw at a Labour party conference. That’s the Jack Straw who wrote last week that his party had extended freedoms, not curtailed them.

Really? The Terrorism Act allowed the government to designate areas where the police could stop and search suspects at will. Fine, you might think, if they see people acting suspiciously outside nuclear power stations. But no. Ministers instantly declared the whole of London a stop-and-search area. Now thousands of law-abiding folk are stopped and questioned each year – even a cricketer who was asked to explain why he was carrying a bat, and an 11-year-old girl, stopped and told to empty her pockets.

Another octogenarian, John Catt, was picked up by the cameras that monitor every car going through the City. He was on police files because they’d nabbed him once before – outside the same Labour conference – for wearing a T-shirt saying George W Bush and Tony Blair were war criminals. Could be offensive, they said.

Think tank: We’ve all been made criminals -Times Online

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