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Ports policing

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We are committed to helping all other police and security forces in the UK to stop criminals using aircraft or ports to commit crime.

While Nottinghamshire has no major international airports, we still have a duty to enforce the laws that govern entry to Britain, such as the Terrorism Act.

Ports manifest themselves in various guises - airports, sea ports and ferry ports.

If you plan to operate a private flight to or from a UK airport flying to or from the Channel Isles, the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man you must notify us at least 12 hours in advance of the flight by completing a General Aviation Report.

We also police the sky over Nottinghamshire, monitoring aviation activity that may suggest the county’s airspace is being used by criminals, or that aircraft used in crime are landing in or taking off from the county.

Terrorists need to travel in order to plan, prepare and commit their crimes. We use legislation to determine whether a person appears to be (or has been) concerned in terrorism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why we police our ports

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.

There is a Code of Practice the police adhere to. You can read a copy on the Home Office website.

Why do police stop passengers at ports?

Officers 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.  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?

If you have been stopped within Nottinghamshire it is likely that you have been stopped by a Nottinghamshire Police officer.  They will give you their force identification number (collar 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.

Identifying yourself

Why have you asked for my passport?

This is so 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.

Are you allowed to take my fingerprints, DNA and photograph?

Yes, in the circumstances set out under Schedule 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000 we can take your photograph, DNA and fingerprints if necessary.

Your property

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 and seize anything belonging to you that may have been, or is about to go, on a ship, aircraft, or international train.

How long can you keep my property?

Property is normally returned to you straight away, or at the conclusion of the examination. 

If this isn't 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.

Your  rights

How long can you detain me for?

Most examinations take only a short time, however the law allows for up to nine 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.

Why wasn’t I cautioned or given a notice of the search?

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

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 you keep a record of my details?

We are required to keep a record when our 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.

What if I don’t comply with the requests 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 if I'm not satisfied with how I was dealt with at a port?

We welcome any comments or concerns you have about your experience at a port.

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You can contact the Ports Office at Nottinghamshire Police by emailing portsoffice@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk or by calling the 101 non-emergency number and dialling extension 800 1035.