Kent Police may soon be forced to shell out a large pile of cash after admitting that they behaved in a systematically unlawful way.
Unlawful actions by Kent police with repect to the way they treated protesters looks set to pave the way for a compensation bill of the order of several million pounds after our somewhat local force admitted operating an unlawful stop and search operation at Kingsnorth power station in the summer of 2008. The problem rests on how far Kent police went beyond the bounds of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 which allows police with reasonable grounds to suspect a person of intending to carry out a criminal act to stop and search that person.
The Criminal Evidence Act 1984 does not allow a stop and search in order to find grounds for the search. Despite the fact that such a blanket use of detaining people would be in breach of Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights this is exactly what Kent Police did. In all the police carried out arround 3,500 searches with no reasonable grounds to support such an action.
A Channel 4 article "Kent police admit 'unlawful' protest policy by Simon Israel reports that:
Lawyers for the chief constable Mike Fuller admitted to the unlawful policy and told the high court "we entirely surrender" to three tests cases brought [by] two 11 year old children and veteran campaigner Dave Morris.