TV discussion: Does Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 need reform?
The law needs to balance the interests of the individual and those of wider society.
The Terrorism Act's ports and airports detention powers pose some difficult questions..
Transmitted 26 February 2014. Posted 6 March 2014. Updated 29 May 2022
On 26 February 2014, the Islam Channel devoted the whole of its "Analysis" programme to a discussion of the detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda at a UK airport on 18 August 2013, and the wider issues surrounding the powers used to detain him, which are contained in Terrorism Act 2000 Schedule 7.
The issue was topical because Mr Miranda had filed suit against the Home Secretary and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, contending that his detention had been unlawful. The case was of such importance that, although heard in the High Court, three judges had sat to hear it. They has just found against Mr Miranda.
Prior to appearing on the programme, I read the full 32 page transcript of the judgment. I appeared on the second half of the programme which discussed the wider policy issues. The presenter was Jonathan Steele and the panellists were:
I made a number of points, in no particular order, including:
Our policy needs to balance two vital objectives: the freedom of the individual and the protection of the whole of society from terrorists who wish to kill and injure people.
Each time someone is stopped and interrogated, it costs the Government money. The Government does not set out to waste money, so it clearly believes that use of Schedule 7 is worthwhile taking into account its costs and security benefits.
The High Court judgment on Mirand mentioned above points out that travellers passing through national borders are in a different situation from individuals walking on the streets of our cities.
The Home Office recently held a detailed consultation on the Schedule 7 powers. I have since looked at the Government's response document at the link. It sets out the changes the Government is planning to make. [Unfortunately, since this page was created, the video has changed status and can no longer be watched. I have left the page up in case it becomes available again in future but I have deleted the videos.]
The first half of the programme, which I did not appear on, was focused more on the specific issues surrounding David Miranda. The panellists in that session were:
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