Nomine in the comments of previous post mentioned 'upon my return' to UK and it's something l've never given much thought to. Looking at my stop and search/interrogation history (as best l can remember) shows some interesting facts.
l've been in the casino industry for approx 30 years. The UK doesn't really have what l call casinos, l think of casinos like the type you see in USA although lreland also comes into it. Not because of casinos but because they use casino slot machines ... and many of them. l've travelled extensively and visited many countries and all more than once.
Early 90's l did a lot of business in Northern Ireland. l was constantly going back and forth in a transit van delivering and picking up casino slot machines. l used the ferry from the UK and went into Belfast and Larne. Remember that this was the time of the 'troubles' but in all my visits l was stopped and searched a grand total of ZERO!
I was also visiting other countries in regards to the casino industry and yes, l have been stopped and searched in other countries. These were USSR, East Germany and Bulgaria (pre EU membership) and all just merited 1 stop and search each.
Countries where l haven't been stopped and searched despite numerous visits include USA (pre 9/11 and after), Canada, Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, vast majority of Caribbean Islands, Germany, Holland, Greece incl the islands, ltaly, France, Belgium, Poland, former Yugoslavia, Spain, Canary Islands, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Israel, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Portugal, South America, Croatia, Albania. This is not full list but you get the picture.
Upon my return to UK l've been stopped and searched many times. So many that l've lost count. Last year alone was 5 times. Here's the thing though, l've only been stopped and searched when returning from EU countries and none of the others. Yet, l have friends visiting me from these same countries but they don't seem to attract the same attention as myself but there again, l'm a British Citizen and they are not. My own wife (Bulgarian) was travelling back and forth from Bulgaria (pre EU) and she's never been stopped and searched ... then or since. Yet l have friends who are British Citizens and they have.
Another interesting point is that in all my stop and searches, the only thing UKBA/HMRC/Customs have been interested in is tobacco. Never once have l had a body search or have they looked for anything else except tobacco. l only carry tobacco when my stocks for personal use are low or l am buying it as gifts for family. Most times l'm carrying none at all and the UKBA/HMRC/Customs seem totally crestfallen when this is the case. You'd think this would help when l am stopped and searched when l am carrying tobacco but no, that is not the case. They imply, accuse, speculate that ALL my trips involve tobacco! ... now that's straight out of the KGB, Stasi handbook. Guilty unless proven otherwise!
The UKBA/HMRC/Customs never take into account when you travel and don't bring any tobacco back after they've stopped and searched you.. They certainly don't log it but they supposedly log it when you do carry tobacco. To do otherwise would not suit them, would it? The mere fact that you travel and don't get stopped and searched or do get searched and they find nothing goes against you ... not for you. l have to try and change that.
So, what to do? Well, l've decided that whenever l travel and return to UK l'm going to actively seek out the UKBA and demand to be stopped and searched. l shall then log it along with the details and id's of the UKBA officers involved. l shall of course audio record it as well and hopefully soon video it. l shall build up my own travel history. As l'm not a smuggler and only buy for my own personal use l can happily do this.
l wonder how UKBA will react? Will they say l'm wasting their time? Well tough, they've wasted enough of mine. Another point to bear in mind is that by my actions some lucky traveller will be spared this harassment because the UKBA are tied up dealing with me. Interesting times ahead, m'thinks.
Right, where do l fancy going to next? Decisions, decisions :)
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