**UPDATED** UKBA/Border Force Back To Their Old Tricks

We received this e-mail from one of our friends who was on a coach trip last week :-

"There are lots of coaches going through the tunnel this morning, Dutch, French, Polish and us, a nice English shopping trip coach.  As we pull up at the Border Control offices we are told we have to take everything off the coach and go through with it.  You just know we are going to take a hit, stands out a mile when they say that.
So, everyone grabs their goods and heads for Passport control, you can see the bruisers lining up behind them and there are a lot of them, they have come mob handed (do they really need boots that big?). As I wait to have my passport scanned I notice a few people sitting down everybody, who has just had their passport scanned anyway, is asked to present their passport again to the guys in UKBA coats (oh and one little girl, though she appears to be a trainee).
“Hello, passport please”
Well at least he is polite.
“What have you bought?” I tell him 3 kilos of Springfield HRT.
“When were you last over, what did you buy then, how long will it last you, have you ever had any dealings with customs etc”
Then he asks if I have the receipt, fair enough I hand it to him.
Then comes something new.  He slips the receipt in my passport, points to the benches and asks me to take a seat.  The problem is, by this time, they have seized so many passports and receipts, there is no room left to sit down!
Gradually they collect the passports and receipts of the majority of the passengers, the young girl I mentioned, she carries away a bundle of passports so thick she can hardly get her hand round it and other “officers” also carry a few away.
All goes quiet at this point, apart from all the other visitors from the EU passing through scanning control and being sent on their merry way, their coaches could have been loaded to the gunnels with contraband and they weren’t even sniffed at from what I could see!  They must have processed 5 coaches just while they were hitting on us at stage one.
After a good long wait, possibly 30 minutes in my case, one of the “officers” comes out and shouts my name, I walk up, he hands me back my passport, I say thank you, get no explanation, and walk out of the building to be greeted by the travellers who had just been passed without let or hindrance.  Same “officer” that called my name, called a lady after me and she followed me out.  I think they did this with a few people, I put my goods back on the coach and it was empty bar a couple of people and the drivers.  This was going to be a messy one.
In the end I think 3 or 4 people had their good seized, at least one was told not to come back for 9 months and another told 6 months or their goods would be seized.  It was cold, windy occasionally wet and from being stopped to getting rolling again it was 2 hours 22 minutes according to my recording device.  This is only hearsay but someone said one of the “officers” had told someone “that coach is marked, it will get pulled every time” though it appears it was in a stage whisper type affair “I shouldn’t tell you this but”.
The mass seizure of passports is a new one on me.  I am wondering if they were taken off to be scanned with the receipts for future reference.  It was obviously a scare tactic, especially when combined with the stage whisper, which it must have been known would be spread among the passengers.
Is this an attempt to wreck a legitimate business, as well as frighten the nervous shoppers?
One of the drivers was saying that the previous week they had virtually been waved through (they go every Friday night).
Unfortunately in my mad dash out of the house I forgot to pick up the cards for N2D, but I did talk with a few people and tell them about the site.  At least one of the group is I hear, going to appeal against their seizure.
All in all a quite eventful trip, wonder what will happen next time"

UKBA/Border Force are acting illegally again! They are simply not allowed to do this. They can't detain and delay a complete coach full of passengers without having reasonable grounds for doing so. 
What's worse is then they ask questions in the hope of of obtaining grounds for a subsequent search.
lt states in their own manual the following :-

"When exercising the powers at sections 163 or 163A an officer MUST have reasonable grounds for
the initial stop. Officers must not stop someone in the hope of obtaining grounds through
questioning to support a subsequent search."

What then followed was simply unbelievable. After the passengers had had their passports scanned at Immigration Control and proceeded to Customs Control, other UKBA/Border Force Officers then asked for the passenger's passports to be handed over!

Just who the hell do they think they are? They can ask for ID but they can't ask specifically for the passport. The passport isn't actually owned by you but it takes the Secretary of State to take it off you. UKBA/Border Force have no right to it ... period. They can ask for ID but that doesn't mean you have to show them your passport and it certainly does not mean you have to hand it over.

Show them some other form of ID, something like your driving licence is good :-

Personally, l blank out my d.o.b, number and address with removable coach tape ... it's still ID and shows who l am. Ask them for their ID first ... then you'll see how much they themselves are loathe to do so. Don't answer any questions until they identify themselves. The most you'll probably get from them is their ID number, l doubt very much they'll show you their photo ID. Yet, they want you to give everything ... don't do it! You are under no legal obligation to do so. Show them your preferred ID but don't give them it.

The problem is that UKBA/Border Force are not ordering you to do it .... they are asking for your consent ... listen carefully to what they actually say and not what you think they are saying. If you give consent, you can blame nobody but yourself. l know it's a bit scary to say "I do not consent" but you'll find that nothing bad happens to you. All them scare stories about arrests and rubber gloves etc are just urban myths .... we speak from experience! First time you stand up and be counted can be scary ... the 2nd time is easy and it gets easier. 

You have to make a stand for what is right. If you don't, they'll just keep on doing it ... because you let them!

Oh, and don't forget to record the whole thing! :)


Seems l have to clarify what l'm saying. I'm not advocating whole out rebellion (which to be truthful l'd like). What l'm saying is when they act like East Berlin Border Guards by herding 30-45 passengers from a coach and then harass and intimidate them by abusing their own regulations, the passengers should not remain subdued and subservient.

Get to know the people you are travelling with and don't be isolated. Make your concerns heard and speak in groups. Begin with asking the UKBA/Border Force Officers for their ID and tell them you are recording them.  That'll be enough to get their attention. Question by what regulations they are doing this to you. Don't be aggressive about it, simply be calm and collected ... and record everything. Voice your complaints and then when you get back home put in an official complaint if you want.

Make it difficult for them by asking these questions and getting their answers recorded on your dictaphones/mobile phones. lf you remain docile and subservient then you are condoning what the UKBA/Border Force are doing. Bullies feed of this so don't do it.

l'm not asking people to do what we do, all l'm saying is voice your concerns and stand together.


  1. "“Hello, passport please”
    Well at least he is polite."

    As SH has already commented; no he -the BF'er- wasn't being polite. He was phrasing a request in such a way that you would hear it as an order..a polite order but an order none the less.

    It was only when i went back over the recording of my own encounter with them that I realised that what SH and Zaphod had been saying the whole time was true- that they need your consent.

  2. l used to do what the goonies said but l don't anymore. First time l was crapping myself to begin with but as it went on l found out what Smokey says is true. l used to think they had loads of power but they don't. Got to admit though l feel a lot safer now l record the goonies. l love telling them l'm recording them just to see their faces drop. Thanks guys l wouldn't have done it without you.

  3. Surely its better to do what they say insted of pissing them off?

  4. "Surely its better to do what they say?"

    Well, yes. Unless you're up for a fight, we do recommend just telling them you're recording and then being docile. (Don't sign the notebook!)

    But sometimes we hear of Customs returning to their old illegal random mass stops, and it makes us angry.

    This website is for sound advice to ordinary shoppers. SH, behave yourself! Our personal antics are for entertainment and for the more advanced activists. :-)

    1. Not asking them to behave like us (see update) but when 30-45 people just stand and take these illegal tactics it gets my goat. Simply voicing their concerns and asking questions of the UKBA/Border Force whilst recording them would be enough. Ok, l understand that everyone on the coach won't do it because they are intimidated by these officers but 2,3 or 4 passengers doing it will have an effect. There's strength in numbers and once people see what little power these officers have they will probably join in and then you've got 10 passengers voicing their concerns. Other people in the Sked Sheds will take notice too ... 'rebellion' is infectious and not a situation that UKBA/Border Force would want. l suspect that all these passengers are pissed off with what is happening to them but simply daren't say anything. Once someone shows them that they can voice their concerns, others will join in and then you have 'People Power'!

      Damn! l wish l lived near Dover!

  5. "
    This website is for sound advice to ordinary shoppers"

    And so, thanks to you Zaphod and SH, it is. While I agree that the RUDS (Record-Use SOT-Don't Sign)shoppers like me don't need to worry about 'consent' as a rule , we still need to be aware-very aware even- of the issues around how much power the BF actually have.

    Zaphod, you know better than me that the latest guidance to officers states that Officers "should dissuade" people from recording. What 'shape' will that 'dissuading' take? Pretty sure it will be Officers saying things like: "Turn off that phone,please" (a request not an order) or "I need you to stop recording, Sir" etc.

    1. l'm being sent a couple of recordings along these very lines by 'rebels' such as ourselves. Should be interesting! :)

  6. This is surely predictable. With all the negative publicity at airports they need to bolster their departmental stats with more 'illegal import' seizures, targetting easy victims is their solution.

  7. Good post SH. lf you put up with shit youll get treat like shit

  8. I smell politics. If they have a mob of UKBA staff, why are they complaining about being short-handed at Heathrow?

    Somebody must tell the Home Secretary that UKBA has the staff to do this, and if they are targetting UK travellers it must be with the intention of causing as much trouble as possible for the Government, who will collect the blame for this at the ballot box.

    Tell Theresa May immediately before they stiff her. Are they conspiring to cause as much damage as possible to the Conservatives at the local elections? There is no logical linkage, but people who have just had a miserable journey will inevitably express that on Thursday.

    1. lt is politics but not with the agenda you mention. They've been doing this for years because it's a cushy little number. No real work needed, just harass shoppers and seize their goods. They've never made any effort whatsoever to differentiate between shoppers and smugglers. What they've created and will be loathe to change is this easy 'job for life'. There's some that say there are extra benefits that go along with this line of work ... seized vehicles that come up for 'auction or sale' and the seized cigarettes/tobacco that have no paperwork so they don't exist. Having personally experienced blatant deceit and 'conspiracy' from officers from this agency, it wouldn't surprise me at all that these 'kickbacks' exist.

      However, l do believe that UKBA will make an issue of the airports and staffing. They will say that the staff at Dover etc are needed and cannot be moved ... then they'll quote their 'statistics' to 'prove' it! They really are not fit for purpose ... indeed, any purpose!

    2. On the topic of vehicle siezures, have you thought about getting Top Gear to look into that? Clarkson being both a petrol head and smoker.

    3. Everyone in media treats this issue like the Black Spot ... much the same with the Liberty and Freedom blogs ... and not forgetting FOREST. Would Clarkson be any different? Somehow l doubt it but anything is worth a try.

      The personalities you see on the screen are far different to how they are in real life. Personally, l'd like to have John Lydon aboard.

    4. Didn't I recently read that he had come on board against the smoking ban?

    5. Reg Trip, Vehicle Seizures are really a side issue- not unimportant, don't misunderstand me, I'm not Simon but really the problem is the whole process leading up to the Vehicle Seizure (ie 'failing' the A-J) and the fact that UKBA have been using the 'bad night to have to walk home with your kids' threat to intimidate people into leaving their goods.

      Vehicle Seizures are really only the automatic follow through - an additional punishment for having dared shop abroad...'pour encourage les autres' as we say down Islington way.

      We/SH need to get the message out that RECORD-USE SOT-NEVER NEVER SIGN is the answer -that it should never get to the stage of a vehicle being seized.

      Of course there will always be exceptions- there will be that one officer who is going to seize your goods and car no doubt what...even if you live fed the video to the web and presented him with an SOT written by the Lord Chief Justice in blood- countersigned by Jesus Christ and all the Saints. But that should, hopefully, be very rare. Hopefully.

      Please God let Johnny Rotten come onboard!



    7. John has been against the smoking ban from the very beginning, RT.

  9. "then they'll quote their 'statistics' to 'prove' it! "

    I think the Head Honcho from BA was on the radio this morning explaining exactly how the UKBA do their 'statisics'...despite clear evidence that their results have as much connection to reality as an edition of Jackanory.

  10. I think I shall try this Dover place. I would go today but its hard to get to from, Scotland, they sound like pure SCUMBAGS
    Mind you the Spanish do the same only in the oposite direction at Gibralter.
    SPANISH WALK THROUGH its the Brits that get harrassed but our Government fight with everybody

  11. "What l'm saying is when they act like East Berlin Border Guards"

    Which was my first thought on reading the post too. It really does sound like something out of the Iron Curtain's Border Guards Handbook On How To Protect The State From The Evil Western Imperialists And War Mongers.

    Except SH, as you yourself have often said, most of us of that era found Iron Curtain Border Guards to be friendly, polite and efficient-unless they were manning some politicised border crossing like Checkpoint Charley.

    1. Yes, l agree. l've been through many such borders, USSR, Cambodia and so forth incl East Germany. Our UKBA/Border Force are by far the worst!

    2. Since we often get asked what excise goods we are carrying can we not put a letter together to the appropriate person pointing out that this is outside the scope of the CEMA regulations and what action will the UKBA/BF take to stop harrassing travellers?
      I would do it myself but wouldn't know who to write to-or maybe we should all put that question to our MPs..


  12. Been down that avenue and written to loads of people incl Director of Border Force, Treasury, HOSC, MP's etc and got precisely nothing back from any of them ... not even an acknowledgement.

    1. Yes, he has. A very thorough letter, rational and well-referenced. All those officials who received it will be unable to say, "We didn't know!", when this colossal rip-off finally gets exposed. (As he pointed out in its final paragraph.)

      The cover-up is always worse than the misdeed.

  13. SH, Just a thought could we all write to "Director of Border Force, Treasury, HOSC, MP's etc".

    Do you have a template we could all use.

    1. I did it because l knew l wouldn't get a reply but l will be able to use that shortly. lt would be difficult to get people to write when they know they'll be ignored m'thinks. Once a politician has got your vote and gets in ... you are forgotten. Until the next time that is, then they'll be back promising everything but knowing full well that they'll break them all if elected.


"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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