David Cameron Aims To Seize Militants' U.K. Passports

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called on parliament to change the law so police can confiscate passports of suspected militants.
Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 01, 2014

In an hourslong statement given before British Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined legal steps to crack down on British citizens joining militant groups such as ISIS. (Video via House of Commons)

One of those measures included giving police the authority to confiscate the passports of suspected militants when detaining them, which would require a change to the existing laws.  

Cameron made it clear the power to confiscate a person's passport would be a temporary one and emphasized changes to the law would be specific. 

In doing so, he stopped short of fellow conservative Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, who last month called for the criminalization of all travel to Iraq and Syria — a suggestion that was largely condemned. (Video via Greater London Authority)

But Cameron's announcement has raised other fears.

BILL NEELY FOR MNSBC: "It is illegal under international law to make someone stateless, so you can't just revoke their British citizenship."

The United Nations explains the dangers of statelessness by saying, "Many more rights of stateless people are violated in practice - they are often unable to obtain identity documents; they may be detained because they are stateless; and they could be denied access to education and health services or blocked from obtaining employment."

Still, it's important to note there is a difference between removing someone's passport and revoking that person's citizenship, and Cameron has so far only called for the former. 

Nevertheless, his opposition has criticized the prime minister's plan for focusing more on the legal means of prevention and less on community outreach. (Video via RT)

ED MILIBAND VIA BBC: "Can I therefore urge him to overhaul the Prevent program, which has become overly focused on the police response to extremism and needs to do far more with parents and communities."

The prime minister also called for the power to relocate suspects and to force airlines to turn over information about passengers of interest to authorities. 

In his statement, Cameron said some 500 British citizens have gone to Iraq and Syria. Check out our previous coverage to learn more about where those numbers come from. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images / Matt Cardy.