Earlier this year, I posted the first of my #TheLawIn60Seconds videos online. I have been surprised by the positive response and it is great to see that they are helping make the law accessible. If you have not already seen the videos, please do take a look. They are only 60 seconds long but should hopefully give you clarity on some of those everyday legal questions you may have.
As it is the month of October, I thought it fitting to produce a ‘Black History Month Special’ version of #TheLawIn60Seconds, exclusively for The Move. I decided to do this in an article format, and by taking a read below, I hope to help you understand laws that, as a community, we may have had concerns about this year. The two areas I have chosen to focus on are:
1) The use of enhanced stop and search powers at Notting Hill Carnival 2018 and;
2) The Windrush Scandal
Use of enhanced stop and search powers at Notting Hill Carnival 2018
The 26th August saw the start of Notting Hill Carnival 2018 – a significant event in Black British culture. Shortly before it started, police announced that a section 60 order would be in place at the event, giving the police enhanced stop and search powers. A section 60 order gives the police the power to stop anybody they wish to in a certain location and search them for offensive weapons or dangerous instruments. Reasonable suspicion is not required and critics argue that section 60 orders disproportionately target African-Caribbean people. Section 60 orders are only supposed to be used when it is believed that incidents involving serious violence may take place, and the police claimed to have intelligence that this was the case.
So, what do you need to know if you are stopped under a section 60 order?
The officer should explain to you that:
– you must stay and be searched,
– what law they are using to search you,
– their name and the police station they work from,
– what they are looking for; and
– your right to a record of the search or a receipt.
The officer must be in uniform if they wish to search you under section 60.
The Windrush Scandal
Late last year and for much of this year, many families, predominantly Caribbean, were subject to intense stress arising out of the Windrush Scandal. Affecting many of our parents and grandparents – people were being wrongfully detained, denied legal rights and even wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.
So how did this happen?
In (very!) brief, the British Nationality Act 1948 made citizens of Commonwealth countries citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. But, in 1973, the Immigration Act 1971 came in to force, granting only temporary residence to most people arriving from Commonwealth counties. Nonetheless, people from Commonwealth countries who settled before the Act came in to force (1973) could remain in the UK indefinitely. Therefore, the Windrush generation (those arriving from Caribbean countries between 1940-1971) should not have had any issues, as they settled before this date.
The problem arose following the highly controversial Immigration Act 2014. This Act required landlords, the NHS, and numerous other bodies/individuals to see proof of a person’s right to be in the UK before providing certain services. In over 50 years of living in the UK, this was the first time that many from the Windrush generation had been required to prove their immigration status, and as a result, many people had since lost the paperwork that proved they had a right to be in the UK. Others had never felt the need to apply for a British passport, and therefore could not use this as proof either. News started to emerge of the horrendous treatment people were facing – such as cancer patients being denied the free NHS healthcare they were entitled to and people being made homeless as they could not prove they were legally entitled to be in the UK. Interestingly, it was only through excellent journalism, high profile campaigns and community activism that this situation was highlighted. This should be a reminder that, as a community, when we rally together we can have significant impact. Although the media attention has died down, the Windrush Scandal is far from resolved and campaigns are still ongoing to help redress the situation. If you can support a local campaign, it really is worth doing so.
I want to close this article by commending The Move. The work they do is fantastic and I look forward to supporting it more moving forward. They have certainly gained a new follower in me, and you should definitely consider following their work too!
By Christian Weaver
YouTube: Christian Weaver