Terrorism Acts

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The United Kingdom's Terrorism Acts passed in 2000, 2005, and 2006 make it an offence to, among other things, be in possession of materials likely to be useful to terrorists, and authorises the government or its agents to do pretty much what they like, if they believe they're protecting the people of the U.K. from terrorists. One of the more egregious provisions, empowering the police to search people who had done nothing suspicious, was ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights[1] and has since been repealed.[2]

Noteworthy actions under the Terrorism Acts[edit]

  • Arresting an eighty-four-year-old hecklerWikipedia at a party conference.
  • Seizing the assets of several failed Icelandic banks.[3][note 1]
  • Arresting someone for walking on a cycle path.[4]
  • Stopping an environmental activist from leaving the country.[5]
  • Arresting a man who boarded a train while in possession of a laptop and mobile phone, and while looking at fellow passengers.[6]
  • Taking photographs of a disused flyover.[7]
  • Local councils have used legislation to spy on suspected litterers, to investigate a man suspected of working while receiving disability benefits, and to ensure that dog owners clean up after their pets.[8][note 2]
  • Stopping people from joining a Gaza aid convoy (though this was due to incorrect intelligence rather than abuse of power).[9]
  • Detaining a man suspected of criticising Emmanuel Macron.[10]
  • Probably some real threats as well.

Doesn't that make you feel safe?

See also[edit]



  1. There might be valid legal reasons to seize the assets of a failed business (such as, say, foreclosure), but fighting terrorism would not be one of those reasons.
  2. Again, making sure that dog owners clean up after their pets is a good thing to do, but using anti-terrorism as a pretext for it is just silly.