Questions need to be asked, by senior anti-terrorist experts, about the training and competence of the Special Branch officers at our airports. UPDATE: (See the Press Release from Bedfordshire Police below)
This account of his questioning by "Special Branch", at Luton Airport, by Riz Ahmed one of the actors detained on his return from the Berlin Film Festival, where he was promoting a film where he portrayed one of the "Tipton Three", British former Guantanamo Bay detainees, is worrying..
Is this really the way in which "intelligence led" anti-terrorism policing is being conducted at Luton Airport, one of the major airports in the UK ?
Was this questioning even legal, given that none of the lawyers on the other end of the mobile phone, including specialist human rights lawyers with plenty of terrorism suspect case experience, could recognise the supposed powers under which the actor was held and questioned ?
She gave me a blank copy of a “Section 7 of the Terrorism Act Detention Form” to explain why I couldn’t contact anyone. The form stated that someone detained under its powers can be prevented from contacting anyone, including legal advisors, for up to 48 hours, by a superintendent officer. I asked her whether she was a superintendent. Her reply was that I was not in fact being held under the powers outlined in this form. I was only being denied legal advice for the first hour of questioning, rather than 48hours.
What, apart from creating resentment against the police, has this incompetent stop, search and questioning actually achieved in makng us safe from terrorists ?
via Talk Politics
UPDATE: The Bedfordshire Police have issued a Press Release on their website, regarding this affair, which , astonishingly repeatedly quotes the legislation as the "Prevention of Terrorism Act" !
"Bedfordshire Police can confirm that four people were stopped and spoken to on arrival at London Luton Airport on February 16, 2006, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act."
"This was done under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which is legislation regularly used by police officers working at London Luton Airport."
"Gathering intelligence and information under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other legislation ensures we remain vigilant when it comes to preventing and detecting crime as well as providing reassurance to those people entering into and living in Bedfordshire and the UK"
Why are they not aware that the Terrorism Act 2000 Schedule 16 Repeals actually repealed the "Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989". and the "Prevention of Terrorism (Additional Powers) Act 1996." and all the other "Prevention of Terrorism Acts" from 1974, which were renewed every 6 months have lapsed, having been replaced by the Terrorism Act 2000.
The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 made some amendments to the Terrorism Act 2000 with regard to passenger information.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 deals with Control Orders, and not with stops and searches at airports.
The need for immediate re-training at all levels of the Bedforshire Police is therefore now self-evident.