The detention of David Miranda under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.has saturated news headlines as an abuse of the draconian stop-and-search powers at ports and airports. Welcome to the real word.
Last year police carried out 1.2 million such examinations of passengers that are disproportionately targeted against Muslims but lead to so few arrests.
Unlike other stop-and-search powers, the use of Schedule 7 does not require an officer to have a “reasonable suspicion” and The Muslim News has been campaigning for many years for the powers to be reformed.
Passengers can be detained for up to 9 hours, as was the case with the Brazilian who often assists his partner Glenn Greenwald in his work with the Guardian and first broke the story about the extent of US surveillance in Britain.
Those stopped are not under arrest but may be questioned, strip-searched and have samples of their biometric data including DNA & fingerprints taken from them regardless of the outcome of the encounter and in the absence of a lawyer. They have to cooperate or else would be detained for up to 28 days without charge.
Following a review last month, the Government acceded to demands, and made cosmetic changes. However, these failed to address underlying concerns and are expected to have little effect.
It is hoped that publicity generated by the Miranda detention, about the draconian nature of the Schedule 7 legislation, will push the reviewer of the anti-terrorism laws, David Anderson, to recommend sweeping changes to the present laws.