POLICE need the powers to protect citizens from terrorism. No-one disputes this.

When there are criminals willing to murder children at pop concerts, or blow up passengers on trains, it is only right to give law enforcement the tools they need.

However, the quid pro quo is that the police must be accountable for their use of these powers, and transparent when questions are asked.

As we reveal today, there are deep misgivings about the way anti-terror legislation is being used against ordinary citizens.

Eleanor Jones is an activist who exercised her democratic rights by attending an anti-G20 demonstration. At Edinburgh airport, after going through security, two police officers detained her, asked for her iPhone and laptop, and took a DNA sample. She was also quizzed about her family’s political views. No charges were laid.

This intimidating and chilling treatment, it must be noted, is perfectly legal. Under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - passed before the September 11 attacks - police were given huge powers at airports and other locations.

Under this law, failure to cooperate on matters such as handing over digital devices could lead to prosecution. Anti-terror powers should be used against dangerous people, not ordinary citizens or well-meaning activists who want a better world.

Until the police are able to handle these powers proportionally additional scrutiny should be made of all use of Schedule 7 so those in law enforcement are aware that they too are being watched and monitored in the interests of democracy.