N2D's Person of the Year 2011

... is  SBC!
He brought us the most powerful tool we could have ever hoped for to combat the illegal tactics used by UKBA officers when intercepting cross-border shoppers. No longer can UKBA use intimidation and harassment with impunity.Not only did he tell everyone that they had the right to record the UKBA by any means they had available but he gave the actual UKBA documentation that proves without doubt that you can indeed record the UKBA.

The significance of this is immeasurable, because it forces the UKBA to behave and adhere to their very own procedures as they should've been doing in the first place. 

N2D have in the past always advocated using covert recording devices to record any interviews with UKBA but we were unsure of the regs regarding openly recording them.We tried FOI's and other avenues but could not get an answer. Then along came SBC with not only the answer but the very UKBA document where it came from. 

The next thing we had to do was to try it out because a theory is not good enough ... you have to put it to a practical test. Despite our best efforts to attract attention to ourselves, nothing happened.for months. lt mattered not whether we were carrying excise goods or not to test the open recording of the UKBA because if we were stopped we would tell them that we were recording them and see what happened. Finally it did happen and the results were astounding ... the UKBA were polite, courteous and did everything by the book! Since then others have had the same experience ... the UKBA behave themselves!

The only downside is that our fellow faux champions of freedom and liberty refuse to get this message out despite numerous requests. The requests don't even ask for links or anything to ourselves, indeed we said they didn't have to mention us at all. The silence was deafening!  Go figure!

The upside is that we are making a difference though. Maybe not in the numbers we would like but that is down to the faux freedom champions of freedom and liberty. We continue to approach different people and groups but in the meantime we shall do what we ourselves can ... and what you yourself can. 

SBC's document says :-

Note: Officers cannot stop someone if they choose to make a video or audio recording of the interview themselves using their own equipment such as a mobile phone, video camera etc.   Full document can be downloaded from here

Finally, thanks to all the people who have sent us messages by text, comments or e-mail this Xmas. We do appreciate it greatly. lt is particularly nice to hear the stories of happy outcomes with the UKBA and not tales of woe and cries for help. Prevention is better than cure.

So again, thanks to SBC .... N2D's Person of the Year 2011.

Well done that man!

Well, l'm off again to enjoy the rest of the festive period. 



  1. I second, third and fourth that. IMHO, SBC is one of the best!

  2. l have not being stopped by customs yet but l feel a lot safer knowing what l know now from your site. l did buy a sony recorder and it's useful anyway but l'll always take it with me now. Thanks guys

  3. SBC is not gonna be comfortable about this. He's put a lot of dedication and work into his irresponsible image! :-)

    Admit it, SBC. You found gold.

    It's a double bonus. UKBA can't tell lies in the notebook, and they also have to follow procedure correctly.

    In fact, they're so unsure of what proper procedure actually is, I expect a noticeable drop in seizures til they've at least all done a training course!

    As SH says, it's good to hear from those who successfully "manage the interview", as well as those looking for help after the event.

    Season's greetings to all. :-)

  4. If it were myself, I would also carry a printout of the document authorizing recordings and carry that folded up with me to show any UKBA agent who might not know of its existence, in case I ran against an incompetent untrained rookie UKBA agent who did not know any better. Then I could pull out the document as I started the recording.

  5. yeah as N2D say you should go prepared at all times cos you cant trust these goonies one bit

  6. Whilst I am indeed the very embodiment of AWESOME and an ivory skinned Sex God to boot, the credit in this instance has to go to SH for setting it up.

    I just knew what question to ask.

    You see, SH sent the original FOI request asking for the UKBA interview procedures and the UKBA duly answered and sent him a copy of their Interview Regs.

    All well and good.

    SH then sent me a copy and asked for my input and exegesis. Not that I have had any legal training but having studied for the priesthood in my youth I am well up on fairy tales and how to twist the meaning of words. Having also worked for former Stasi officers and the like I'm also fluent in Bureaucratese.

    Reading through SH's FOI I suddenly realized they, the UKBA, were trying to pull a fast one.

    They had indeed sent their comprehensive Interview Regs as requested HOWEVER THEY DON'T CLASS THE A-J INTERROGATION AS AN INTERVIEW! -just like when they stop you they aren't 'stopping' you.

    For them the A-J interrogation is merely the legal equivalent of an informal friendly chat. They class it as such so that they don't have to conform to PACE I assume. In SH FOI's it was all about CRIMINAL INTERVIEW procedure and PACE'd to the hilt.

    Once I had cottoned on to what they were trying to sell us it was easy. I just emailed them an FOI asking for exactly what we wanted ie the procedures/Regs for the A-J.

    I had no idea that it would be so 'explosive' and I have the sneaking suspicion that someone in the FOI office got a bollocking for not censoring out (for their favourite 'Get Out' of 'Operational Security') the paragraph about filming.

    So SH did all the real work.

  7. You did as much, probably more. We are indebted to you SBC. You, da man!

  8. SH, you did the work and , more importantly, took the risk and TESTED the theory. Paper is all well and good but it has to be 'proven'.

    I just sent an email- grumpy old git that I am.

  9. I am glad SH mentioned the other
    silent web "warriors",their silence,their disinterest in the real show.
    All the twittering,youtubing,facebooking.
    broadband blathering and fibre optic chuddering has got us ZILCH,

    The Lone Smoker

  10. All power to both of you. I do now carry a copy of the document with the particular paragraph highlighted just in case any office is vision impaired.
    May you all have wonderful New Year Parties with lots of smokies and drinkies and I look forward to seeing you all on the other side.


"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

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