Schedule 7 Terrorism Act 2000
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
Our powers to stop and question come from Schedule 7 of the
Terrorism Act 2000. The use of this legislation is regularly and
independently reviewed. The legislation is unique and applies only
at a port or border area. Some people may find being stopped by the
police inconvenient and embarrassing, but we have a duty to protect
our communities from terrorism and your patience and understanding
helps us to do this.
Who has stopped me?
Police officers from Cheshire Police 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.
Why have I been stopped?
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.
Why have you asked for my passport?
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.
Can you search me or my luggage?
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).
How long can you keep my property?
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
How long can you keep me?
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.
What is my right to legal advice?
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.
Will a record be kept of my details?
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
Why wasn’t I cautioned/given a notice of search?
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
Can you take my fingerprints, DNA and photograph?
Yes, in the circumstances set out under Schedule 8 of the
Terrorism Act 2000.
Where can I complain about my treatment or find out more
Cheshire Police welcomes any comments or concerns you may have
about your experience during this process. Contact Cheshire Police
Additional information may also be found on the following
Tackling terrorism together
Cheshire Police acknowledges your support and cooperation.
Everyone has a role to play in combating terrorism, not just the
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. Cheshire Police 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
Text phone for people with speech or hearing difficulties
0800 032 4539
If you believe there is an immediate risk always dial
999 or 112