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Police officers at ports play a key role in countering the current terrorist threat and have powers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop, question, search and if necessary, detain people entering or leaving the UK. This also applies to those travelling within the UK on board a ship or aircraft.

Terrorists need to travel in order to plan, prepare and commit their crimes. The legislation is used by police officers to determine whether a person appears to be (or has been) concerned in terrorism. When it extends beyond a short encounter this process is commonly known as an examination.

Our overriding priority is to keep the public safe by working together with all our communities to defeat terrorism.

Police officers at ports play a key role in countering the current terrorist threat and have powers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop, question, search and if necessary, detain people entering or leaving the UK. This also applies to those travelling within the UK on board a ship or aircraft.

Terrorists need to travel in order to plan, prepare and commit their crimes. The legislation is used by police officers to determine whether a person appears to be (or has been) concerned in terrorism. When it extends beyond a short encounter this process is commonly known as an examination.

Our overriding priority is to keep the public safe by working together with all our communities to defeat terrorism.

Frequently asked questions regarding Police interventions at ports:

Police officers from Cumbria Constabulary have stopped you. They work at the port to help protect our borders and to keep the UK safe. These officers do not have to give you their names. They will give you their force identification number if you request it. You may also be stopped under other legislation by staff from the UK Border Agency or other government enforcement agency.

Unlike most other police powers, the power to stop, question, search and, if necessary, detain persons under Schedule 7 does not require prior authority or any suspicion that the person stopped is involved in terrorism.

This is so that you can be identified. Other forms of documentation that can positively identify you may also be acceptable. You must also give the officer any other documents or information they request.

Yes, you can be searched, together with anything you have with you or belonging to you that is on an aircraft, ship or train, including any vehicle you might be travelling in. The officer can also search anything belonging to you which may have been, or is about to go, on a ship, aircraft, or international train. The officer can seize any property they find (see below).

Property is normally returned to you straight away, or at the conclusion of the examination. If this is not possible, documents and other belongings found during the search can be held for up to seven days for further examination. Property can be kept for longer where it may be required for use as part of a criminal investigation.

Most examinations take only a short time, however the law allows for up to 9 hours. You can be detained for longer if you are arrested under other powers available to the officer. If this is the case, it will be explained to you. (During long periods, your personal needs will be considered, such as refreshments.)

What if I don’t want to stay here or comply with any of the requests that you make of me?

A police officer has the power to detain you, using reasonable force if necessary. You commit an offence if you fail to comply with a request made by an officer under this legislation. This could result in a prison sentence, a fine or both.

You can request legal advice at your own expense. Your examination will not be delayed pending the arrival of a solicitor and your failure to answer questions may constitute an offence. If you are formally detained under Schedule 7 powers, your rights will be explained to you.

The police are required to keep a record when their interaction with you extends beyond a short encounter. This is for statistical and reference purposes only and does not constitute any kind of criminal record.

Unlike many other police powers, when questioned under Schedule 7, you need not be cautioned. Where searches are made, there is no requirement for a written notice of a search to be provided to you.

Yes, in the circumstances set out under Schedule 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Cumbria Constabulary welcomes any comments or concerns you may have about your experience during this process.

Contact Cumbria Constabulary on 101.

Tackling terrorism together

Cumbria Constabulary acknowledges your support and cooperation. Everyone has a role to play in combating terrorism, not just the police.

The threat of terrorism is real and serious. Recent events have shown that a minority of people seek to attack the UK at any time and at any place without warning. Cumbria Constabulary has a key role in countering that threat and in maintaining national security.

Please remain alert and vigilant at all times. If you are suspicious about someone’s behaviour or activities, or you have information that could relate to terrorist activity, please call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline telephone number given below.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired you can report an emergency by text to 999. You can only use this service if you have registered your mobile phone. To register text the word: Register to 999 and follow instructions on the message you receive.