Impact of arbitrary detention under anti-terror laws

Impact of arbitrary detention under anti-terror laws


Written by: IRR News Team

A new initiative has been launched by the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) to assess the impact of detention under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.[1]

CAMPACC has become concerned about the use of Schedule 7 of TACT 2000 which allows people arriving or leaving the UK to be stopped and questioned and held for up to nine hours to determine whether they are a terrorist. CAMPACC states that: ‘Anecdotal evidence suggests that these powers are used to harass human rights activists that work in “suspect communities” and secondly, ordinary members of those communities are being stopped purely on the basis of racial or religious profiling.’

The aim of the new project is to find out who is being stopped, why they are being stopped and what questions they are being asked. CAMPACC hopes to publish a comprehensive report into the use of this power. It is trying to trace people who have been stopped under Schedule 7 and are willing to speak about their experiences.

CAMPACC has been campaigning against anti-terrorism laws since the introduction of the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT 2000), and believes that ‘these extraordinary laws’ create ‘suspect communities’. It works with both community and national organisations to highlight the damaging effect of the laws on individuals, communities and our civil liberties.

Find out more about the project or how you can assist CAMPACC with the Schedule 7 Project by contacting: Estella Schmid: or Lochlinn Parker:

Related links

Campaign Against Criminalising Communities – CAMPACC

[1] Schedule 7 of TACT 2000 allows the police and immigration authorities to stop, search and question people at designated ports of entry. This includes any airport, airstrip, dock, ferry terminal or in the case of the Channel Tunnel, railway station where people are entering or leaving the UK. Under paragraph of Schedule 7 an 'examining officer' may question a person for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a 'terrorist' within the definition of section 40(1)(b) TACT 2000. A person who is questioned under paragraph 2 must- (a) give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests; (b) give the examining officer on request either a valid passport which includes a photograph or another document which establishes his identity; (c) declare whether he has with him documents of a kind specified by the examining officer; (d) give the examining officer on request any document which he has with him and which is of a kind specified by the officer. Under paragraph 7 and 8 the examining officer may search the person, and any vehicle or property connected to that person and seize that property for a period of seven days for the purposes of the search under paragraph 9. A person does have the right to legal advice and must be released no later than 9 hours from the time examination began. The person must answer questions put to him by the examining officer and comply requests regarding documentation. Failure to do so or failure to comply with a duty or to hinder the officer's exercise of his powers is punishable by up to 3 months in prison and/or a fine up to £2500.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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