Long before the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was detained at Heathrow airport on Sunday, the law that was used to hold him and remove his possessions had been effectively discredited in its present form. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a sweeping power to detain for up to nine hours. It gives border police a power of detention for questioning without specific suspicion or a right to be represented. It is one of the strongest police powers on the statute book – a useful weapon for security services trawling for information but a potential source of injustice waiting to happen. It has provoked some of the strongest community complaints about the way UK terrorism laws operate in practice. Parliament is already scheduled to reform it.
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