This briefing contains additional information for non-UK nationals and residents who might be risking arrest as part of a Faslane 365 blockading group. You should also read the general legal briefing (in the Resource Pack and on www.faslane365.org/legal) - this briefing only covers what is different or extra for internationals.
In our experience, the authorities in Scotland treat anyone resident outside the UK as an international, even if they are British citizens. Our experience in the past has been that foreign nationals legally resident in the UK would normally be treated the same as any other UK resident and that deportation is not an issue. However, there has been a fuss recently in the media about "foreign criminals" and the government has said they will be looking at increased use of deportation should foreign nationals be convicted of crimes in the UK. We do not believe that this would apply at this minor a level of offence but we don't know for certain as it has not yet been implemented. Check www.faslane365.org/legal for updates.
In the past, Internationals have often been treated exactly the same as UK residents. On occasion however, there have been differences. One is that sometimes Internationals are more likely to be held for court and released on bail rather than just released from the police office. On occasion they have asked all internationals to sign undertakings, and held those that refused for court the next day.
There is no requirement to carry ID in the UK, even for internationals (although you will need a passport to get in, even from other EU countries). If you don't want to carry your passport on the action then we recommend you make sure someone who is not planning to risk arrest has your passport and that your legal support team know who that is. While it has not been necessary recently, there have been occasions in the past when the police have claimed that they are unable to verify foreign addresses and require proof of ID before releasing internationals.
You have a right to an interpreter, either in the Police Office or in Court. This applies even if your English is good enough for everyday use - there is a specific language to legal proceedings and often some strong accents amongst police officers so don't be afraid to ask for an interpreter at any stage - you have the right the to one, so keep asking if necessary. However, it's a good idea to ask as early as possible so that proceedings aren't delayed while they find one.
You have the right to have your Embassy or Consulate informed that you have been arrested. For some countries, the police will inform them anyway, even if you don't ask while for others they only inform them if you request it. If you need an interpreter, that may be arranged through the Embassy, so they may find out then.
Not for simple blockading - it's not serious enough to make international arrests an option. However, you will end up with a warrant out for you in the UK and so you may be picked up at the port coming back into the UK in the future. If you missed a court hearing then the warrant may eventually be dropped. If you have been convicted and not paid the fine then the warrant may last much longer.
Often people with addresses outside the UK will just be released like everyone else. There was a previous blockade where they wanted all Internationals to sign Undertakings, and many chose to give a UK address on arrest so as to avoid this. If it comes to holding people for court and putting them on bail then the Helensburgh court has accepted foreign addresses but the courts sometimes refuse to bail people to a non-UK address.
If you live abroad, it would be a good idea to have a UK address you can use if you need to. It's your decision whether to give it on arrest or to make the point that you've come from abroad by giving your foreign address and hold the UK address in reserve in case you need it for bail.
If you give an address on arrest then they will try to verify it. One way they sometimes do this, with UK addresses, is to ask the local police to go round and ask if you live there, or to telephone the address if you give them a phone number. If you give a UK address, therefore, you need to check with the people who live there to make sure it's OK and that everyone who lives there knows that you live there. Any citations, etc. will get sent to that address so you need to make sure you have a system for getting them sent on to you, if you move.
This briefing covers some of the specific legal issues for drivers of vehicles during Faslane 365.
Be aware that immediately before an action there can be a lot of emotions and adrenaline sloshing around, even for support people. Think in advance about how you might cope with this: relaxation/concentration techniques, etc. Make sure to get yourself emotionally settled before setting off and be aware of, and plan for, the need to get adequate rest.
As the driver of a vehicle on a public road:
You are responsible for making sure everyone in the vehicle wears seatbelts (where they are fitted).
It is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving (even if stopped at traffic lights, etc.) unless you have a completely hands-free setup).
You are required to give the police your name, address and date of birth if asked (this only applies to the driver, passengers do not have to provide any information.
If you don't have these with you2, you may nominate a police station (anywhere in the UK) to take them to. You will be given a form which you must take, with all the documents, to the nominated police station within seven days.
Several of the roads around Faslane are Clearways, which means you're not supposed to stop. If you're unsure and you stop very briefly then you'll probably just be told to move along. However, if you leave a car parked on the verge on a clearway it might be clamped or towed.
There is no general power to search a vehicle although there are a range of powers which allow them to do so in certain circumstances. If the police want to search the vehicle ask them what power they are acting under and make a note of it. Be clear about whether you are giving them permission or are just complying with a (claimed) requirement and let your legal support team know afterwards.
The registered owner of a vehicle is required to tell the police who was driving it at a certain time. Otherwise they may be liable themselves. If they tell the police who was driving then the driver rather than the owner would usually be liable.
Usually at Faslane, drivers of vehicles transporting people to and from Faslane are not hassled as long as they obey usual road traffic stuff and don't stop where they shouldn't. Note that the police have powers to direct road traffic and failing to comply with such a direction can be an offence. Make sure the group thinks in advance about what they will do if the police prevent you from stopping where you want to. Also make clear in advance what risks you as the driver are prepared to run and what you're not ― and that you expect the group to respect that even in the heat of the moment.
If you stop on the roundabout and people jump out and lock-on then they may be more likely to consider you part of the action and arrest you. If you are arrested then the vehicle will be towed and you will have to pay a release fee (which can be over £150) to get it back.
If they do arrest you then, depending on the circumstances, it could be for stopping where you shouldn't or some other road traffic offence or it could be for aiding and abetting the action itself.
If you use a vehicle as part of an action, for example turning an old vehicle into a lock-on, then you are likely to have the vehicle impounded and probably forfeited. Make sure the vehicle is road standard and has MOT and that you are insured to drive it otherwise the driver will also be charged with driving without insurance/MOT/etc.
Think carefully about how you will get into place. Anything done while driving the vehicle could lead to road traffic charges ― even Dangerous Driving or similar if it involves going anywhere the wrong way or too close to police on the gate. The driver should prepare themselves mentally very carefully and everyone should be aware of the amount of adrenaline around immediately before the action and the need to keep the driver calm and focussed.
Once in place you will be told to move very quickly by the police. Usually, failing to comply with such a direction from the police would be an offence (for the driver). If it is not possible to do so (because the vehicle has been disabled in some way) or not safe to do so (e.g. because there are people locked onto the vehicle from outside) then that should be a defence to such a charge. You would still be charged either with Breach of the Peace or under the Roads (Scotland) Act with blocking the road (likely fines are similar for both).
We do not have much experience of people using vehicles as lock-ons, so we are less certain about the possible charges.
For a hire vehicle the hire company should have provided an insurance certificate ― it may be on the invoice.[Back]
The police are often able to check insurance and MOT on a computer database via their radio, so if you have your driving licence with you and the rest checks out they may not bother making you produce the other documents.[Back]
While we welcome people of all ages to take part in Faslane 3651, there are some factors which apply particularly to young people which you should consider, and which this briefing aims to cover. You should also read the general Legal Briefing as this only covers areas which are different for young people.
Please check with the Blockading Group (BG) you are planning to come with if they have any special provisions, or concerns, about involving young people.
Anyone aged 16 or over is treated as an adult in Scots Law. Anyone aged under 16 is treated as a Juvenile. Note that if you look under 16 you might be treated as a Juvenile until they can confirm your age.
There are different rules governing how juveniles are treated if they are arrested. In particular:
Juveniles are not prosecuted through the normal court system for minor offences like these. If a juvenile is charged then a report is sent to the Reporter to the Childrens Panel. He then decides whether to report the matter to the Childrens Panel. A Childrens Panel hearing is like a court hearing in some ways but very different in style and approach. The overriding concern of a Childrens Panel should be the interests of the child.
It is therefore unlikely that peaceful, non-violent, accountable and principled actions of this sort would be reported to the Childrens Panel unless you keep doing it several times in quick succession. We have no knowledge of Juveniles being prosecuted for actions at Faslane.
Remember that if you are aged 16 or over you will be treated as an adult and can be prosecuted though the normal court system.
As described in the Legal Briefing for Young People, we recommend that anyone under 16 who is coming to any of the Faslane 365 actions with someone other than their parents bring with them a letter authorising an adult who is coming to pick them up from the police station if they are arrested.
It would be a good idea to bring this letter just in case, even if the young person has no intention of risking arrest.
To whom it may concern
I give my consent to my child, ................................... attending a protest at Faslane on ...................................
They will be in the care of ...............................................
In the event of my child being arrested I wish the above named person to be treated as the person who has actual custody of my child. In particular I wish my child to be released to that person.
If you need to contact me by phone to confirm this:
We have produced a flowchart which describes the arrest procedure.
We have produced a flowchart which describes the possible options and procedures following release through to the end of the process.
There is no general right for the police to search you. There are exceptions to this where they have grounds for suspecting you personally of certain offences, for example under the Misuse of Drugs legislation, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect you of possession of illegal drugs. The police may search you upon detention or arrest, provided the conditions for detention or arrest are satisfied.
The police may try to get people to co-operate where they have no legal power to compel them to do so. The general advice, if the police seek to search you, is to always demand to know what power they are acting under and whether they have legal authority to compel you to submit to a search, or are asking you to agree to one voluntarily. In the latter case, it's your decision whether to agree or not. You should make a note, at the time, of the numbers of the officers involved and of what power they claim to use. In Scotland, you do not usually get a Stop and Account form, although it doesn't hurt to ask for one.
There are two powers which, if in force, allow the police to search anyone within a specified area without having any particular suspicion of you personally. There is no history of these powers being used at Faslane, and no justification for doing so, and their use could be challenged. These are:
Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows a senior police officer to impose an order on an area if he believes that incidents involving serious violence may take place or that persons are carrying dangerous instruments or offensive weapons. If a s60 order is in force then a uniformed police officer may stop and search any person or vehicle (without requiring any suspicion of them) within the specified area for weapons. There is also a power to make people remove masks.
They are only allowed to search for weapons (not read papers, etc. although they may try). You do not have to give your name and address or any other information as part of the section 60. You have a right to a written record of the search although the Scottish police aren't used to giving them out and may refuse at the time.
Since we are committed to nonviolence and not to carry weapons it seems difficult to imagine how a s60 order could be justified and any attempt to impose one could be challenged.
Section 44 of The Terrorism Act 2000 allows a senior police officer, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to impose an order on an area if he considers it expedient for the prevention of acts of terrorism. If a s44 order is in force then a uniformed police officer may stop and search any person or vehicle (without requiring any suspicion of them) within the specified area for articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism.
You do not have to give your name and address or any other information as part of the section 44. You have a right to a written record of the search although the Scottish police aren't used to giving them out and may refuse at the time.