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Do you agree that British Police should have the power to stop anyone at airports, ports, and international rail stations, and question them for up to nine hours without having a 'reasonable suspicion' that they might be involved in terrorism?
Let me say up-front that I do.
It would seem to me that if they stop someone there must usually be some sort of reason. They have enough to do without stopping random people. So I think I must agree with Forum Editor
So: We're down to the Legal Definition of 'reasonable'!
Yes, those that protect us from those that wish to disrupt our lives, by whatever means, must have the right to detain anyone that they suspect, either intends harm to the UK and/or its inhabitants, or carries materials that would aid someone with that intention.
Now it comes down to the provenance of that suspicion.
"So: We're down to the Legal Definition of 'reasonable'!" That definition is next to the one for the length of a piece of string.
The police in the FE's case must have had some reason, but were unable to explain it to avoid a court case. At one end of the two extremes there is random questioning on a whim, and at the other end there is the anarchist in a dark cloak with a fizzing bomb...
I am surprised that this thread was not began a couple of weeks ago when the partner of a Guardian journalist was also detained for nine hours and had his electronic kit retained.
It seems that the anti-terrorism powers are being used in ways that perhaps they were not intended. I refer to the the use of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and I believe that whether the powers were used lawfully by the police are to be investigated.
I do agree with FE, subject to a lawyer being available in a similar way to an arrest. In the case pending at the moment, it is already quite clear that the Guardian were seeking to avoid UK law by basing a journalist in Brazil, and that his partner was carrying secret documents which had been (at the beginning) obtained or disclosed illegally. The possession of so much classified information by a person not cleared is an offence (in UK under the Official Secrets Act). Whether he should have been held under the terrorism legislation is a moot point. I think if the police or security services had reasonable suspicion he had such material, they could have found another law to dover his arrest or detention. I am not clear why they let him go rather than charging him - perhaps due to some "in transit" rules? Are they, or the US seeking the extradition of him and his partner - if not, why not?
dover = cover!!
Should the police be able to stop anyone with no reason? Of course not. I'm amazed that anyone should think that is OK.
David Miranda's stop was so far beyond the norm as to be clearly suspect. Even where the police do have grounds for suspicion records show they only hold the suspect for longer than 6 hours in less than 1% of the instances. Holding someone for the full 9 hours and then releasing them without charge is just about unheard of.
The fact that Theresa May has said she knew, in advance, that the police were planning this shows just how worried we should be for as long as she remains Home Secretary.
Besides the human rights angle there is the stupidity side to it. And that is both political and economic stupidity.
The political stupidity is that no-one but a fool thinks any information has been removed from public scrutiny by confiscating Miranda's electronics and standing over staff from the Guardian while they took a hammer to hard drives containing copies of these files.
The economic stupidity is that we keep being told how important airport capacity is particularly for transit passengers. If completely innocent transit passengers can't be sure of making their journeys without being detained we won't need the extra runway for the south-east.
It's amazing how many people will say that's it's perfectly OK to stop and detain anybody without any reason as long as it's not them.
Which of you would like to be detained in a cell for nine hours just because some one didn't like your face or your partner was some one this government or the USA do not like.
You have to give up all rights in that nine hours plus any documents, film, laptops, phone can all be seized and retained for 7 days, you may not even get them back after the 7 days.
Interesting reading here enter link description here and a small extract
" Apparently, anti-terrorism officers were expected to stop at least two passengers during each shift, which was revealed in papers submitted to an employment tribunal."
If we are to believe that stopping people with out any reason is OK then we are not winning any war against terrorism, the war has been won by the terrorist.
The facts are that this guy was in possession of copies of classified documents to which he had no right. The security services no doubt monitored his meetings "upstream" and had grounds to suspect he was carrying such classified information. It was handled clumsily and maybe another law to arrest him should have been used, but I still do not see that such people should allowed to freely roam around with classified material. Why was he not charged and held here? This was NOT a case of "people being stopped with no reason" - there was a good reason. The fact that the Guardian got away with only having discs destroyed was lucky for them (that they were not accused also). Press freedom should not extend to publishing highly classified information.
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