Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Anderson of Ipswich Lord Anderson of Ipswich Crossbench 3:15 pm, 12th November 2018

I support the Government’s position on Amendments 42 and 46. In a report of July 2013, The Terrorism Acts in 2012, I recorded the result of an extensive inquiry conducted with MI5 and counterterrorism police into the value of no-suspicion stops under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act. I started from a position of, I hope, healthy scepticism, but noted three useful functions of the no-suspicion stop: deterring and detecting the use of “clean skins” to transport terrorist material; avoiding alerting travellers that they were the object of surveillance; and enabling the travelling companion of a person suspected of involvement in terrorism to be stopped and questioned. I followed this up with several real-life examples, which I had verified, of no-suspicion stops that had brought significant benefits in terms of disrupting potential terrorists. More to the point, perhaps, in the case of Beghal in 2015 a majority of the Supreme Court held that having regard to the many safeguards on its exercise, the absence of a suspicion requirement was not such as to render the basic Schedule 7 power inconsistent with the principle of legality. That judgment contained a lengthy comparison of Schedule 7 with the former Section 44, to which the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, addressed some remarks.

These few words should not be understood as a rejection of some enhanced threshold for the use of more specialised powers under Schedule 7 to the 2000 Act, or Schedule 3 to this Bill, such as downloading a phone or, indeed, taking a person into detention. Still less should it be understood as support for no-suspicion powers of stop and search in more orthodox areas of policing where threats to national security are not in issue. I hope, however, that it explains why I do not support these amendments.