It has been reported yesterday that councils have used anti-terror legislation 10,000 times since 2004. And what are the heinous crimes they have uncovered? Well, it ranges from littering to unauthorised internet access. Theft of fariy lights is a big problem in certain UK regions too, apparently.
This is a ridiculous waste of council time and resources and an abuse of powers that have been granted to help fight against terrorism. Councils have proved themselves untrustworthy when it comes to being of any help in this area, and if they continue to use anti-terror legislation for petty prosecutions instead of the serious crimes they were intended for then they should have them taken away immediately.
As an aside, I was fascinated to hear Derek Draper on the Daily Politics at lunchtime defending this use of these powers. He said if someone was walking past your house with their dog, day after day, and the dog did its business in the same spot outside your house day after day, wouldn't you want the council to prosecute them, however they got the evidence?
There's a few things I would like to point out to Derek. Firstly, dogs are not that precise. Well, mine isn't. She seems to relish taking me by surprise when it comes to that sort of thing, timing it for maximum embarrassment factor. If she was though, there are indeed a few people's property that I would encourage her to target...
But I digress. The point is, I wouldn't want my council to use this legislation to convict people of minor offences, even if I was slipping around in dog muck all day. Every time a council abuses these powers, it devalues the long hard fight our security services have on their hands when it comes to fighting extremism in all its heinous forms. And I have a very big problem with that.
As the saying goes: with power comes responsibility. The councils misusing anti-terror law have shown themselves unworthy of power and lacking in responsibility. The government should react accordingly.