A regional press journalist was stopped and searched by police officers in the run-up to the Olympic Games.
The journalist who works for WalesOnline, the website for newspaper group Media Wales, was stopped by police officers outside the publisher’s Cardiff city centre headquarters on his way into work.
Two officers from South Wales Police searched the bag of the journalist, who has not been named by the company, but he claims they did not tell him why he had been stopped or give him a written record of the search – which is contrary to guidelines.
The journalist said he was left “shaken” by the incident last week which took place on Park Street as the officers were carrying out checks on drains ahead of the Olympics, because the Millennium Stadium is a venue for some of the football matches.
He said: “I was walking into work when a couple of guys in South Wales Police uniforms strolled over and asked me where I was going. I told them I was just going into work.
“They said, ‘do you mind if I have a look in your bag?’ They had a quick poke through my bag and then sent me on my way.
“I was a bit shaken up. Working in the city centre, it feels like this place is turning into a police state. It’s crazy.”
On Saturday, South Wales Police confirmed it was taking over many of the roles previously held by security firm G4S, after that firm’s failure to train enough workers for the Games.
As a result, officers have now taken charge of bag and body searches at the entrances to the Millennium Stadium and at various South Wales hotels where athletes and important visitors are staying.
A spokeswoman for anti-surveillance campaigners Privacy International said: “The rules governing stop-and-search are there for a reason – they protect us from abuses of power.
“Those rules require police officers to inform the subject why they were chosen for a search and what the officers are looking for, and provide the subject of the search with a written record.”
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “The police have a number of powers of stop and search. When using any power they must always have regards to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) codes of practice.”