LONDON — Police across England have abused counterterrorism powers to illegally search thousands of Britons over much of the past decade, Britain’s Home Office said yesterday.
Officials said forces across the UK, including London’s Metropolitan Police, misused the “stop and search’’ powers granted to them under Britain’s 2000 Terrorism Act.
The act allows officers to stop, search, and demand explanations from anyone at any time in areas designated as sensitive — a power long deplored by civil libertarians.
There are some restrictions imposed on the way police can use the act. But the Home Office said that an internal review had shown those restrictions were violated 40 times between 2001 and 2008.