Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

The schedule 7 powers on terror laws is going to be scaled down by the Home Secretary

Date: (14 September 2012)    |    

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The terror laws which block anyone’s entry into Britain are being scaled back, Theresa May has announced yesterday.
The rules allow officers to detain anyone without reasonable suspicion.
The Home Secretary had suggested that there were doubts about whether the powers to detain were being used proportionately.
The Schedule 7 powers have been said to have left people from the Asian communities feeling that they were being singled out by officers according to the campaigners.
In a legal review of the power in December, High Court judge Mr Justice Collins said the essential power was 'necessary in a democratic society'.
Ms May said the Government keeps taking all necessary steps to protect the public from individuals who pose a threat to national security.
Schedule 7 measures form an essential part of the UK's border security arrangements, helping to protect the public from those travelling across borders to plan, finance, and train for and committing terrorism.
Though it was necessary that people arriving at ports and airports were put to examination for public safety there was a need to ensure that the powers would be used proportionately to be effective she said.
A consultation has been launched yesterday which will ‘seek the views of the public to help ensure that the system gets it right.
Under the changes proposed today, people who are stopped could be given the same rights to state-funded legal advice as those transferred to police stations.
The maximum examination time could be reduced from nine hours and increased oversight and training could be introduced.
Figures published yesterday had shown that in the year to March 2011, a total of 73,909 people were examined under the powers, with 915 of these eventually detained.
For examinations, two in five described themselves as white, while less than a third said they were Asian or Asian British.
Almost half of those detained described themselves as Asian or Asian British, while less than one in 10 said they were white,
David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorist legislation, said the power had been ‘instrumental in securing evidence which was used to convict dangerous terrorists’.