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Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has welcomed the positive measures taken by Glasgow Airport police to address concerns about the use of Schedule 7 powers.
It follows his visit to see the police operation at the airport and the launch of a new community engagement group in the wake of public meetings about Schedule 7 last year.
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives police powers to stop, search and questions travellers at UK airports without reasonable suspicion that the person is engaged in terrorism.
Mr MacAskill said:
“I am pleased to see the police operation first hand and witness the important work being carried out by police at Glasgow Airport. They have been engaging with the local community to share information and I welcome the positive progress they have made working hard to reassure communities and build trust following public meetings about Schedule 7 powers last year.
“Concerns were raised about a lack of clear information about the powers and how they are used, and police have acted swiftly by reviewing the leaflets given to those who are stopped and by making sure information is more widely and easily available, both at the airports and in communities.
“It is important that powers to stop and question travellers must be used consistently, sensitively and appropriately. I am well aware of the sensitivities involved in the use of Schedule 7 powers. Where there are legitimate concerns and grievances in communities we need to understand them and work together to try to address them.
“Scotland is not immune from terrorism, so it is vital that our airports are effectively policed to preserve public order and ensure that any threats to security are identified and addressed. The police play a crucial role, having to balance a duty to tackle crime with the protection of individual civil liberties. The powers they use are necessary to assist in their challenging role. Officers on the ground are best placed to make individual judgments as to when those powers should be used. I believe our forces make a proportionate and necessary use of the powers available to them.”
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