Counter-Terrorism Act 2008

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation2008 c. 28


Counter-Terrorism Act 2008

2008 Chapter 28

An Act to confer further powers to gather and share information for counter-terrorism and other purposes; to make further provision about the detention and questioning of terrorist suspects and the prosecution and punishment of terrorist offences; to impose notification requirements on persons convicted of such offences; to confer further powers to act against terrorist financing, money laundering and certain other activities; to provide for review of certain Treasury decisions and about evidence in, and other matters connected with, review proceedings; to amend the law relating to inquiries; to amend the definition of ‘terrorism’; to amend the enactments relating to terrorist offences, control orders and the forfeiture of terrorist cash; to provide for recovering the costs of policing at certain gas facilities; to amend provisions about the appointment of special advocates in Northern Ireland; and for connected purposes. 9

[26th November 2008]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Powers to gather and share information

Part 1

Powers to gather and share information

Power to remove documents for examination

Power to remove documents for examination

S-1 Power to remove documents for examination

1 Power to remove documents for examination

(1) This section applies to a search under any of the following provisions—

(a) section 43(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) (search of suspected terrorist);

(b) section 43(2) of that Act (search of person arrested under section 41 on suspicion of being a terrorist);

(c) paragraph 1, 3, 11, 15, 28 or 31 of Schedule 5 to that Act (terrorist investigations);

(d) section 52(1) or (3)(b) of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) (search for evidence of commission of weapons-related offences);

(e) section 7A, 7B or 7C of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (c. 2) (searches in connection with control orders);

(f) section 28 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (c. 11) (search for terrorist publications).

(2) A constable who carries out a search to which this section applies may, for the purpose of ascertaining whether a document is one that may be seized, remove the document to another place for examination and retain it there until the examination is completed.

(3) Where a constable carrying out a search to which this section applies has power to remove a document by virtue of this section, and the document—

(a) consists of information that is stored in electronic form, and

(b) is accessible from the premises being searched,

the constable may require the document to be produced in a form in which it can be taken away, and in which it is visible and legible or from which it can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.

(4) A constable has the same powers of seizure in relation to a document removed under this section as the constable would have if it had not been removed (and if anything discovered on examination after removal had been discovered without it having been removed).

S-2 Offence of obstruction

2 Offence of obstruction

(1) A person who wilfully obstructs a constable in the exercise of the power conferred by section 1 commits an offence.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction—

(a) in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both;

(b) in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both;

(c) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or both.

(3) In subsection (2)(a) as it applies in relation to an offence committed before section 281(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44)

comes into force, for ‘51 weeks’ substitute ‘six months’.

S-3 Items subject to legal privilege

3 Items subject to legal privilege

(1) Section 1 does not authorise a constable to remove a document if the constable has reasonable cause to believe—

(a) it is an item subject to legal privilege, or

(b) it has an item subject to legal privilege comprised in it.

(2) Subsection (1)(b) does not prevent the removal of a document if it is not reasonably practicable for the item subject to legal privilege to be separated from the rest of the document without prejudicing any use of the rest of the document that would be lawful if it were subsequently seized.

(3) If, after a document has been removed under section 1, it is discovered that—

(a) it is an item subject to legal privilege, or

(b) it has an item subject to legal privilege comprised in it,

the document must be returned forthwith.

(4) Subsection (3)(b) does not require the return of a document if it is not reasonably practicable for the item subject to legal privilege to be separated from the rest of the document without prejudicing any use of the rest of the document that would be lawful if it were subsequently seized.

(5) Where an item subject to legal privilege is removed under subsection (2) or retained under subsection (4), it must not be examined or put to any other use except to the extent necessary for facilitating the examination of the rest of the document.

(6) For the purposes of this section "item subject to legal privilege"—

(a) in England and Wales, has the same meaning as in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c. 60) ;

(b) in Scotland, has the meaning given by section 412 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29) ;

(c) in Northern Ireland, has the same meaning as in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (S.I. 1989/1341 (N.I. 12)).

S-4 Record of removal

4 Record of removal

(1) A constable who removes a document under section 1 must make a written record of the removal.

(2) The record must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time when the document was removed.

(3) The record must—

(a) describe the document,

(b) specify the object of the removal,

(c) where the document was found in the course of a search of a person, state the person's name (if known),

(d) where the document was found in the course of a search of any premises, state the address of the premises where the document was found,

(e) where the document was found in the course of a search of any premises, state the name (if known) of—

(i) any person who, when the record is made, appears to the constable to have been the occupier of the premises when the document was found, and

(ii) any person who, when the record is made, appears to the constable to have had custody or control of the document when it was found, and

(f) state the date and time when the document was removed.

(4) If, in a case where the document was found in the course of a search of a person, the constable does not know the person's name, the record must include a description of the person.

(5) If, in a case where the document was found in the course of a search of any premises, the constable does not know the name of a person mentioned in subsection (3)(e) but is able to provide a description of that person, the record must include such a description.

(6) The record must identify the constable by reference to the constable's police number.

(7) The following are entitled, on a request made to the constable, to a copy of the record made under this section—

(a) where the document was found in the course of a search of a person, that person; and

(b) where the document was found in the course of a search of any premises—

(i) the occupier of the premises when it was found, and

(ii) any person who had custody or control of the document when it was found.

(8) The constable must provide the copy within a reasonable time from the making of the request.

(9) If, in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, the document is found in the course of a search under a warrant, the constable must make an endorsement on the warrant stating that the document has been removed under section 1.

(10) In the application of this section in relation to the search of a vehicle, the reference to the address of the premises is to the location of the vehicle together with its registration number (if any).

S-5 Retention of documents

5 Retention of documents

(1) A document may not be retained by virtue of section 1 for more than 48 hours without further authorisation.

(2) A constable of at least the rank of chief inspector may authorise the retention of the document for a further period or periods if satisfied that—

(a) the examination of the document is being carried out expeditiously, and

(b) it is necessary to continue the examination for the purpose of ascertaining whether the document is one that may be seized.

(3) This does not permit the retention of a document after the end of the period of 96 hours beginning with the time when it was removed for examination.

S-6 Access to documents

6 Access to documents

(1) Where—

(a) a document is retained by virtue of section 5, and

(b) a request for access to the document is made to the officer in charge of the investigation by a person within subsection (3),

the officer must grant that person access to the document, under the supervision of a constable, subject to subsection (4).

(2) Where—

(a) a document is retained by virtue of section 5, and

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