Minority report

Public Meeting at Pollokshields Burgh Halls over stop and search at Glasgow Airport.''Photograph by Colin Mearns (The Herald and Times group)
Public Meeting at Pollokshields Burgh Halls over stop and search at Glasgow Airport.''Photograph by Colin Mearns (The Herald and Times group)

Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf has launched a group to stop discrimination against ethnic minorities during airport security.

The MSP for Glasgow — who is from Newton Mearns — has launched an Independent Advisory Group, comprising of members of the ethnic minority community, which will work with police and counter terror officials.

Local man Rizi Mohammed is a member of the newly formed IAG.

He told The Extra: “We formed this group after a number of complaints were received from people who felt targeted and harassed by police at Glasgow airports in particular.

“Most members of our diverse communities that get stopped and questioned are born and bred Scots; they want the airport to be as safe as possible.

“However, the way things are done presently is counter-productive and is creating a hostile atmosphere between police and communities.’’

The checks come under schedule 7 of the terrorism act where people can be physically detained for up to nine hours while they and their belongings are searched.

In some cases they are strip-searched, DNA samples are taken and they are fingerprinted.

They may also be questioned on their social, political and religious views

Following a Freedom of Information request by the Federation of student Islamic societies, it was revealed that people from ethnic minorities are up to 42 times more likely than white people to be stopped under the powers of schedule seven.

Mr Yousaf has welcomed calls from David Anderson QC, the UK’s counter-terrorism watchdog for a review of airport security, with particular reference to Schedule 7.

He said: “We must review the current legislation and see if a more efficient and less hostile security check can be devised, whereby innocent people aren’t stopped time after time, making them fearful of flying out of their city’s own airport”.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: “Glasgow Airport has worked and continues to work closely with various local ethnic minority groups and we will help facilitate an open day which will help highlight and explain the procedures involved in the security screening process.”