Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary fails to answer #operationevacuate questions

Well the response from my letter to the Chief Constable of Dumfries & Galloway has finally arrived. It is reproduced below for reference. My comments will be in red, and quotations from legislation will be in purple, following each relevant bit.

Dear Mr Carchrie Campbell

COMPLAINT AGAINST THE POLICE

I didn’t write a letter of complaint. I wrote a letter of enquiry.

I refer to your letter dated 22 August 2010 and your complaint relating to an incident where you were stopped earlier that day, at Stranraer Port. I note from your letter that you would like me to confirm the following details:

DCI Graham Edwards is mistaken here: I wanted the Chief Constable to confirm – not a DCI.

  • Under what powers officers stopped you and searched you and the vehicle under your control,
  • What personal information we hold on you,
  • How long such personal information is held on file,
  • What purpose such information is being held for,
  • And how it will be destroyed.

Police Powers at the Port of Stranraer

I offer the below written response to the questions that you raise.

Officers deployed at the port of Stranraer are examining officers under the terms of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (the Act) and their primary role is National Security. The powers conferred upon them by Schedule 7 of the Act, are comprehensive and necessarily far reaching.

No comma is required in that sentence. Oops.

I do not intend to replicate them here in full however, Schedule 7 empowers an examining officer to stop, question, detain and search persons at a port, to determine if they are a person who is, or has been concerned in the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism. There is no requirement for an examining officer to have any grounds for suspicion against any individual prior to the exercise of these powers.

I have no doubt that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) confers such powers upon examining officers who may be:

(a) a constable,

(b) an immigration officer, and

(c) a customs officer who is designated for the purpose of this Schedule by the Secretary of State and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise.

article 1(1), schedule 7, Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11)

However, I was not told that the persons that were asking the questions on 22 September 2010 at the Port of Stranraer were examining officers. Nor did they identify themselves as constables, despite my request to them for their shoulder numbers and warrant cards. Although they were dressed in what appeared to be police uniform, no member of the public should take the uniform without shoulder numbers or warrant card produced as evidence of their authenticity.

In addition to the above, when a person is stopped and questioned by an officer, Schedule 7 provides; that person, anything with him, any vehicle and anything in or on a vehicle may be searched, an examining officer may authorise a person to carry out a search on his behalf. Again there is no requirement to have any grounds for suspicion.

The completion of landing/embarkation cards relates specifically to ports within the common travel area (CTA), that is; Great Britain, Northern Ireland, republic of Ireland and the Islands. An examining officer may require a person to complete a landing/embarkation card whether or not the officer suspects the person is, or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Schedule 7 states that:

16(1)The Secretary of State may by order make provision requiring a person to whom this paragraph applies, if required to do so by an examining officer, to complete and produce to the officer a card containing such information in such form as the order may specify.

(2)An order under this paragraph may require the owners or agents of a ship or aircraft employed to carry passengers for reward to supply their passengers with cards in the form required by virtue of sub-paragraph (1).

(3)This paragraph applies to a person—

(a)who disembarks in Great Britain from a ship or aircraft which has come from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or any of the Islands,

(b)who disembarks in Northern Ireland from a ship or aircraft which has come from Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, or any of the Islands,

(c)who embarks in Great Britain on a ship or aircraft which is going to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or any of the Islands, or

(d)who embarks in Northern Ireland on a ship or aircraft which is going to Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, or any of the Islands.

article 16, schedule 7, Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11)

However, I was not informed that the Secretary of State had indeed made such an Order. I would be grateful if someone could point me in the direction of this particular statutory instrument, as DCI Graham Edwards has failed to do so in his letter to me.

The Act places an obligation on a person who is questioned in so much as they must;

a) give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests;

b) give the examining officer on request either a valid passport which includes a photograph or another document which establishes his identity;

c) declare whtether he has with him documents of a kind specified by the examining officer;

d) give the examining officer on request any document which he has with him and which is of a kind specified by the officer.

Indeed a person commits an offence if he;

a) wilfully fails to comply with a duty imposed under the or by virtue of this schedule,

b) wilfully contravenes a prohibition imposed under or by virute of this schedule, or

c) wilfully obstructs, or seeks to frustrate, a search or examination under or by virtue of this schedule.

I conclude that the officers who stopped you were acting lawfully under the provisions of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

DCI Graham Edwards can conclude that all he wants, but I do not agree. I was not:

  • informed that the people purporting to be constables were indeed constables despite requests for proof;
  • informed that the Secretary of State had made an Order under article 16 of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11). Indeed from memory the embarkation card quoted section 34 of the Terrorism Act [no year] as the reason for its use.

34 Power to designate

(1)Subject to [F1subsections (1A), (1B) and (2)], a designation under section 33 may only be made—

(a)where the area is outside Northern Ireland and is wholly or partly within a police area, by an officer for the police area who is of at least the rank of superintendent, and

(b)where the area is in Northern Ireland, by a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary who is of at least the rank of superintendent.

[F2 [F3(1A)A designation under section 33 may be made in relation to an area (outside Northern Ireland) which is in a place specified in section 31(1)(a) to (f) of the Railways and Transport Safety Act, by a member of the British Transport Police Force who is of at least the rank of superintendent.]

(1B)A designation under section 33 may be made by a member of the Ministry of Defence Police who is of at least the rank of superintendent in relation to an area outside or in Northern Ireland—

(a)if it is a place to which subsection (2) of section 2 of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987 (c. 4) applies,

(b)if a request has been made under paragraph (a), (b) or (d) of subsection (3A) of that section in relation to a terrorist investigation and it is a place where he has the powers and privileges of a constable by virtue of that subsection as a result of the request, or

[F4(c)if a request has been made under paragraph (c) of that subsection in relation to a terrorist investigation and it is a place described in subsection 1A of this section.]

(1C)But a designation under section 33 may not be made by—

(a)a member of the British Transport Police Force, or

(b)a member of the Ministry of Defence Police,

in any other case.]

(2)A constable who is not of the rank required by subsection (1) may make a designation if he considers it necessary by reason of urgency.

(3)Where a constable makes a designation in reliance on subsection (2) he shall as soon as is reasonably practicable—

(a)make a written record of the time at which the designation was made, and

(b)ensure that a police officer of at least the rank of superintendent is informed.

(4)An officer who is informed of a designation in accordance with subsection (3)(b)—

(a)shall confirm the designation or cancel it with effect from such time as he may direct, and

(b)shall, if he cancels the designation, make a written record of the cancellation and the reason for it.

§ 34, Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 34)

I do not see how this section is relevant… maybe it meant the Terrorism Act 2006:

34Amendment of the definition of “terrorism” etc. E+W+S+N.I.

In each of—

(a)section 1(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) (under which actions and threats designed to influence a government may be terrorism), and

(b)section 113(1)(c) of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) (offence of using noxious substances or things to influence a government or to intimidate),

§ 34, Terrorism Act 2006 (c. 11)

Again, this does not quite seem right.. but I’ll leave it for now…

Personal information and data handling

In excess of 6,ooo people are stopped and questioned, or required to complete landing/embarkation cards, annually travelling through the ports of Stranraer and Cairnryan; records of all examinations are kept locally as per the Home Office Codes of Practice for Examining Officers under the Terrorism Act 2000. I can assure you that all of our local systems are compliant with the Data Protection Act [which year and chapter?] and the principles of Management of Police Information.

Unfortunately, DCI Graham Edwards fails to state which Data Protection Act he means. I am unable to find neither the Home Office Codes of Practice for Examining Officers under the Terrorism Act 2000 online nor the principles of Management of Police Information. I would be grateful if anyone could provide me with a copy.

Neither has he answered my questions as to what personal information the Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary holds on me, how long such information will be held, what purpose it is being held for, and how it will be destroyed.

Conclusion

Whilst I appreciate the information provided may not meet with your satisfaction, I trust that you will appreciate that there has been a thorough investigation into the concerns you raised with us. If however, you wish to discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Sincerely [sic]Signature

pp Detective Chief Inspector

The fact that DCI Graham Edwards fails to even sign this letter himself leaves me with no confidence that he has even actually seen it. Could it be that it has been issued in his name by DI Amanda Scott from whom I was expecting a reply as per the original response from the office of the Chief Constable?

DCI Edwards has given me an email address to enable corespondence, I shall be using this to communicate with him. Updates no doubt will follow. This blog post will be what is sent to him initially.

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