The use of Section 44 allows vehicles and pedestrians to be stopped and searched for no reason. People may be asked to remove outer clothing (coat, hat even shoes) but no more than that. Bags may be searched and pockets emptied. Male officers may search women although they should not touch them. People should receive a ticket after they have been searched which should specify the date, location, officer conducting the search and the results of the search. There is no legal requirement for people to provide their name and address.
LIBERTY, the human rights group, released a 13 page report (pdf)in July focusing on the misuse of Section 44 against anti-war demonstrators around USAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, during the concentrated bombing of Iraq earlier this year. The damning report detailed fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights in the extensive use of anti-terrorism laws to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protest and to harrass them. At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl.
See Indymedia Feature - more on Section 44