Sussex Police have stopped more than 7,000 people on suspicion of terror offences since the introduction of new police powers.

Figures published by the Liberal Democrats show a total of 7,013 suspects were stopped on the street or in their car between 2001 and 2006.

It means Sussex Police has been responsible for the fourth highest number of terror-related stop-and-searches of any force in the country.

By comparison, Greater Manchester Police stopped 6,219 people and Thames Valley Police stopped 5,463.

Nationally, more than 166,894 people were stopped and searched in the six years following the introduction of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Of these, only 40 people have so far been convicted.

The Lib Dems said for every person convicted 4,170 had been stopped and searched and for every person arrested 148 had been stopped and searched.

It comes a week after The Argus revealed a total of 2,648 searches were made by police using powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 during 2004 to 2005.

The high number was put down to measures to protect delegates at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. Security alerts at Gatwick were also put forward to explain the statistic.

Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell demanded an urgent review into the "overused" powers.

In a speech to Muslims at a Birmingham Mosque yesterday, Sir Menzies said they were alienating minority communities.

He said: "It is intelligence-led policing, not indiscriminate stop and search, that will bring success in the fight against terrorism.

"The police and security services must be unrelenting in their determination to track down those who plot terror attacks.

"Indiscriminate stop and search is alienating minority groups who often feel unjustly targeted.

"Anti-terrorism powers are meant to be exceptional powers, used occasionally and only when circumstances demand it.

"The fact that so many people have been stopped, and so few arrested, suggests that the powers are being used as part of standard policing techniques."

He added: "A recent Home Office report states that stop and search is being overused. We now need an urgent review of the powers to ensure that it is used more sensitively and effectively rather than as part of routine policing which enflames anger amongst community groups.

"Then the police can focus on the kind of counter-terrorism operations that actually work."

A Home Office spokesman said: "It is essential that the police have powers which enable them to act effectively and stop-and-search is an important part of the operational ability of the police to respond effectively to the terrorist threat.

"We recognise that the absence of reasonable suspicion when exercising these powers is a contentious issue and of the concerns that lie within the community.

"That is why we have published material aimed at informing people in the community the need for these powers and what they can and should expect when these powers are used on them.

"We keep all our counter-terrorism legislation under review."

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