Schedule 7- what is it?

 

Background:  The Telegraph today report (19/08/2013) that ‘Mr Miranda, who lives with the reporter Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who interviewed American whistleblower Edward Snowden, was stopped at 8am returning from a trip to Berlin.The Guardian reported that Mr Miranda was questioned under schedule seven of the Terrorism Act 2000 which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allowing officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.The 28-year-old was held for nine hours – the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual – before being released without charge. But the newspaper reported his electronic possessions including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles were confiscated’.
 

Act background

(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/11/schedule/7): Schedule 7 authorises police officers to stop and question travellers at UK ports and airports without needing reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is engaged in any acts of terrorism. Even more frightening is that schedule 7 allows officers to physically detain the person for up to nine hours; search them and their belongings; strip and search them; take their DNA and fingerprints; question them on their social, political and religious views and, although the detainee is not under arrest, they are obliged to co-operate even before their lawyer arrives or risk being arrested for “obstruction’.

 
Figures quoted by The Guardian(23/05/2011): People from ethnic minorities are up to 42 times more likely than white people to be the target of a counter-terrorism power which allows the stopping and searching of the innocent yet grants them fewer rights than suspected criminals, official figures seen by the Guardian show.
 
What the Act says: Section 1. –
(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where-
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [, racial]or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.
 
So, looking at this it seems that the police are now condiserding journalists who report high profile cases and information and their relatives as ‘terrorists’. Indeed, the police could argue that this was a random search but I fail to believe that David would have been stopped if he was just an everyday Tom, Dick or Harry. For this to have happened, it is quite possible that the master (US) has pulled the strings of its puppet (UK) to secretly ‘blacklist’ all involved in the NSA/GCHQ leaks in the hope of stopping anymore information being disclosed through taking personal possessions for ‘examination’s’. If I were David or Glenn I would be checking there have been no bugs planted in the devices!  
 
Examples of abuses

 

In October 2005 Sally Cameron was held for four hours after being arrested under the act for walking on a cycle path in a controlled port area in Dundee owned by Forth Ports. While cyclists were free to pass through the port zone, she was arrested and detained because she was a pedestrian and under suspicion of being a terrorist.“ I’ve been walking to work every morning for months and months to keep fit. One day, I was told by a guard on the gate that I couldn’t use the route any more because it was solely a cycle path and he said, if I was caught doing it again, I’d be arrested…The next thing I knew, the harbour master had driven up behind me with a megaphone, saying, ‘You’re trespassing, please turn back’. It was totally ridiculous. I started laughing and kept on walking. Cyclists going past were also laughing…But then two police cars roared up beside me and cut me off, like a scene from Starsky and Hutch, and officers told me I was being arrested under the Terrorism Act. The harbour master was waffling on and (saying that), because of September 11, I would be arrested and charged”.

In July 2008 anti-terror police held a 12-year-old autistic boy with cerebral palsy and his parents whilst travelling on the Eurotunnel Shuttle rail service under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act. The child’s mother was taken to an interrogation room and questioned on suspicion of child trafficking and released without charge. Kent Police later apologised for the incident.

In June 2010 Metropolitan Police officers attempted to prevent a 15-year-old boy from photographing an Armed Forces Day parade in Romford, East London, citing “antisocial behaviour” and the Terrorism Act. A police misconduct hearing held in December 2011 found that the police had no legal power to prevent the teenager from taking pictures and that the police inspector involved in the incident had used abusive language in calling the boy “silly”, “gay” and “stupid”. The boy was awarded compensation and given an apology.

In October 2011 a man was challenged by security staff in the Braehead Shopping Centre in Glasgow after taking photographs of his own four-year-old daughter eating an ice cream in the centre. He was held by Strathclyde Police under the Terrorism Act and eventually released without charge.

Finally, I attach the most frequently asked questions about these very broad and often abused powers, as per the GMP website so that you can become familiar with this schedule in case you are detained and implied to be a terrorist for spreading the truth;
Who has stopped me?

Police officers from Greater Manchester Police have stopped you. They work at the port to help protect our borders and to keep the UK safe. These officers do not have to give you their names. They will give you their force identification number if you request it. You may also be stopped under other legislation by staff from the UK Border Agency or other government enforcement agency.

Why have I been stopped?

Unlike most other police powers, the power to stop, question, search and, if necessary, detain persons under Schedule 7 does not require prior authority or any suspicion that the person stopped is involved in terrorism.

Why have you asked for my passport?

This is so that you can be identified. Other forms of documentation that can positively identify you may also be acceptable. You must also give the officer any other documents or information they request.

Can you search me or my luggage?

Yes, you can be searched, together with anything you have with you or belonging to you that is on an aircraft, ship or train, including any vehicle you might be travelling in. The officer can also search anything belonging to you which may have been, or is about to go, on a ship, aircraft, or international train. The officer can seize any property they find (see below).

How long can you keep my property?

Property is normally returned to you straight away, or at the conclusion of the examination. If this is not possible, documents and other belongings found during the search can be held for up to seven days for further examination. Property can be kept for longer where it may be required for use as part of a criminal investigation.

How long can you keep me?

Most examinations take only a short time, however the law allows for up to 9 hours. You can be detained for longer if you are arrested under other powers available to the officer. If this is the case, it will be explained to you. (During long periods, your personal needs will be considered, such as refreshments.)

What if I don’t want to stay here or comply with any of the requests that you make of me?

A police officer has the power to detain you, using reasonable force if necessary. You commit an offence if you fail to comply with a request made by an officer under this legislation. This could result in a prison sentence, a fine or both.

What is my right to legal advice?

You can request legal advice at your own expense. Your examination will not be delayed pending the arrival of a solicitor and your failure to answer questions may constitute an offence. If you are formally detained under Schedule 7 powers, your rights will be explained to you.

Will a record be kept of my details?

The police are required to keep a record when their interaction with you extends beyond a short encounter. This is for statistical and reference purposes only and does not constitute any kind of criminal record.

Why wasn’t I cautioned/given a notice of search?

Unlike many other police powers, when questioned under Schedule 7, you need not be cautioned. Where searches are made, there is no requirement for a written notice of a search to be provided to you.

Can you take my fingerprints, DNA and photograph?

Yes, in the circumstances set out under Schedule 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Where can I complain about my treatment or find out more information?

Greater Manchester Police (or whichever police authority area you are in) welcomes any comments or concerns you may have about your experience during this process.

Contact Greater Manchester Police (or whichever police authority you are in) on 0161 856 0247.

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