UPDATE: Paul Golding sends official complaint to 'Independent Office for Police Conduct'
Today, party leader Paul Golding has lodged an official complaint about his treatment at the hands of 'SO15 Counter Terrorism Command' last week at Heathrow airport.
Paul has lodged official complaints with the Metropolitan Police and the 'Independent Office for Police Conduct'.
Here is the complaint:
To whom it may concern
I am a politician who travelled to Russia to visit elected representatives in the Russian Parliament (Duma).
I also engaged in media interviews while on the trip.
Upon my return to Heathrow Airport on the date above, I was intercepted by officers from SO15 Counter Terrorism Command and detained using powers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
I was detained for many hours and my mobile phone, laptop and hard-drive were seized.
All the questions I answered during my interrogation related to political matters and not criminality or terrorism.
I was threatened with six months in prison and a conviction for terrorist offences unless I provided the pincodes for my devices.
I refused, as I believe that the use of anti-terrorism powers against a politician who is not under suspicion of any wrongdoing is an abuse of those powers.
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 gives these officers 7 days to hold my devices before they must be returned.
The only other scenario that allows them to keep my devices is if they are subject to any criminal proceedings, which they are not.
Therefore, SO15 Counter Terrorism Command is detaining my devices longer than the 7 days as allowed in the legislation.
I have not been charged with any offences, so I hereby formally request the immediate return of my devices without delay.
I have sent a written request to SO15 Counter Terrorism Command as well requesting the return of my devices, but have not had a reply.
I consider this entire matter to be an abuse of legislation designed to combat terrorism.
I am not under suspicion and this was confirmed to my solicitor on the date of this incident.
I have also lodged a complaint with the 'Independent Office for Police Conduct'.
Paul also a sent a formal written request for his devices to be returned to the SO15 Counter Terrorism Command head office.
He has given them seven days to comply or he will be forced to apply to the High Court in London for their return.
More updates as they happen.