Schedule 7: Harassment at Borders
The impact on the Muslim community
Weaving together powerful first-hand evidence gathered from Schedule 7 stops, with empirical and legal analysis, this report not only critically examines Schedule 7, but also situates it within the wider context of counter-terrorism laws and policies, providing the first ever comprehensive analysis in the UK.
Through this evidence-based research, the report concludes that Schedule 7 disregards the norms of due process at every level, and it permits and justifies systematic abuses against individuals including ordinary Muslims, journalists, aid workers, and lawyers.
As such, the law is not only ineffective, but it is deeply counter-productive.
This report recommends that the government repeal Schedule 7 TACT and Schedule 3 of the Counter-Terrorism Border Security Act with immediate effect, and failing this, that civil society act to document the use of new Schedule 3 powers to target individuals and groups on a more overtly political basis and, within the emergent framing of political movements as ‘hostile activity’, continue to call attention to the danger this law poses to community relations and society as a whole.
Read the report
See the Human Voices stories
They said to me they are concerned about radicalisation. I said, “What is radicalisation: taking a tin of beans, to feed someone?”
I kept saying please, I am worried about my son. She said: “He’s old enough to tell your husband if he is worried.” I kept thinking: “You don’t have kids. You have no idea.”
‘I said “I’m with my kids”. The officer said: “We will take your kids away”.’
It was like a progression, to establish my religiosity. And the whole thing is done in such a way as to make you feel that you are doing something wrong for simply practising Islam.
The process is to intimidate you to get information out of you that will be useful to them, but I am not afraid at all. What they are trying to achieve doesn’t work with me.
When they gave my data back, every single Islamic nasheed and book I’d had on my phone was removed. Literally, all of it. Everything Islamic – gone.
“I told them about what Allah says in the Quran, that we are not allowed to spy on one another. They said they had a different interpretation of that verse. I said: “Well, you keep to your interpretation and I will keep to mine.”
They said they want me to take everything off, and squat down in front them. I told them no way, I would never.
Know your Rights
Where can I be stopped?
- At ports of entry and exits into and out of the country, for example: airports, seaports and international train terminals.
- You can also be stopped at Eurostar or Eurotunnel terminals and stations in France.
The power can be exercised by:
- A police officer
- A customs officer
- An immigration officer
- You can be stopped at any time and any place where an officer believes you intend to travel abroad or on your return from travelling abroad.
- This includes before security, after security and even when you have boarded the mode of transport which you are using.
- You can be searched, detained and questioned for up to six hours.
- If you are stopped for over an hour, police must hand you a Notice of Detention form
- Your pictures can be taken
- Your DNA and fingerprints can only be taken with your consent. However, failure to give your consent could result in your arrest.
- Your belongings can be seized and held for up to 7 days, including your electronics and passport.
- You may be asked to provide passwords for your devices.
- You should remain calm and courteous.
- Request to contact your solicitor.
- You should be allowed to speak to your solicitor unless the officer thinks it will unduly delay the examination
- After 1 hour, you have the right to speak to a solicitor
- You should record what has happened to you with a pen and paper including who you spoke to, which department they’re from, what you were asked and what your answers were.
- You do not have the right to remain silent. You must answer questions related to the sole purpose of the power, which is to ascertain if you are concerned in terrorism.
- You may be arrested and potentially prosecuted if you fail to answer questions.
- You don’t need to answer questions on issues you are unaware of; if you are unsure about something you can say so
- The police can ask you for this information, but per their guidelines, this data exists in the cloud and not on your device and therefore they do not have an immediate right to access it.
No. You have done nothing wrong. You are not suspected of a crime and you are not under arrest.
- The authorities are not obligated to reimburse you for costs.
- They may try to put you on the next available flight, boat or train.
- You should alert the police that you have confidential material, which they must acknowledge and cease accessing your devices.
- They may still continue to hold your devices.
- We recommend that you change the passwords to your electronic devices as soon as possible after they are returned to you, in order to protect your privacy.
- You should first clarify who you are speaking to and ask them what legal powers they are questioning you under
- You have no obligation to speak to MI5 officers. It is an abuse of the Schedule 7 power for them to use that as an opportunity to question you.
- You should not speak to MI5 officers without lawyers present
- Allow plenty of time before you have to board your flight/train
- Write down the number of a solicitor in case you get stopped
- If you hold confidential material on your devices, save backups on your computer and wipe your phone before travelling