By Halimah, CAGE Caseworker
Sometimes a case comes along that really brings into focus how counter-terrorism police consider themselves above the law.
Recently, a client contacted us after being approached by the police, and he couldn’t understand why. When he asked them, they wouldn’t give him a clear reason.
All they told him was that it was a follow up from his Schedule 7 stop and that some things had “come to light”. But in the same breath, they told him he was not in trouble and an officer was happy to meet him in a cafe to have a chat.
We have seen many cases where Schedule 7 stops snowball into other issues, such as in-home interviews with social workers and children, which we documented in our Separating Families report, and even Mi5 recruitment. This sounded like the latter.
When flights were stopped during the pandemic, we breathed a sigh of relief, as we looked forward to a drop in Schedule 7 stops.
But even during a time of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 when people were being urged to stay home for their safety, and even fined if they were out on the street, the police continued to harass this man.
They urged him again and again to contact them and meet in person. It was interesting to see to what lengths they went. Officers called him, texted him and they even visited his house while he was out.
When they eventually did get into contact with him, he asked them why they were after him. Again, they repeated that he had done nothing wrong and he was not in any trouble.
On his call with us, it was clear he was confused and distressed at their behaviour and did not know what to do. He did not know whether they would ever leave him alone.
We spoke at length. He was very relieved to hear that he had taken the right steps by contacting us.
He found having someone to speak to who was familiar with these situations really helpful.
After the call, he was reassured to know what his rights were, and how he could confidently address the situation.
It’s rewarding to know that because of the action we advised, and despite the police’s efforts to harass our client, they will be very hesitant to do so again.
We know now that because we helped him to write a formal letter to the police asking for an explanation, they have backed off and not contacted him since.
The more people who are empowered to and take the right course of action, the less our community can be exploited.
Have you or anyone you know been harassed by the police or have faced the brunt of ‘counter-terrorism’ laws? If so, then please contact our caseworkers for advice and support: 0300 030 2243
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)