How to Record ALL UKBA lnterviews

Firstly, when you are stopped by UKBA/HMRC you MUST immediately tell them that you are recording them. They CANNOT stop you as it is in their own procedures that they HAVE to follow. Make sure that you take a copy of SBC's FOI ( mirror HERE) with you in case they try to refuse being recorded by bluffing or lying to you. Another FOI  HERE The relevant paragraph is on page 8 under Excise and Civil Interviews where it categorically states:-

"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."


Some officers are trying to stop people recording the interview by harassment and lies. Our advice is to tell them you are recording the interview on your phone but covertly record them on your recorder. This way if you are forced to turn your phone off because you don't feel you can argue the point ... you still have a factual recording of the interview ... plus, proof of harassment!

The reason we tell you to inform the UKBA/HMRC immediately that you are recording the incident when you are stopped by them is NOT you that are required to do so by law (you can do it covertly too), it is to make them behave! Some people use a covert backup recorder as well in case the UKBA use heavy intimidation to stop you recording ... you then have this intimidation or sometimes downright lies recorded for future reference or evidence. We cannot fault this approach.

Try to avoid videoing if possible as audio is less contentious and more than sufficient as evidence.Videoing is no more useful than audio unless you intend to put it up on Youtube. Use videos/cameras as a last resort.

Once they know they are being recorded, we've found they will not use their usual tactics  of bullying, intimidation, lying etc etc etc. The act of recording them has the same result on  them as Kryptonite does to Superman ... they lose their 'powers' and have to do everything by the book!

As for equipment to use, SBC rightly says that we recommend the above Sony Recorder BUT this is not the only device we use at the time. The Sony can record for hours and hours with no problem. The other devices we have used are  such as spy cameras, i-phone etc all have a major disadvantage ... if the interview goes on for a long time (Zaphod 4+ hours), the spy cameras, i-phones etc will run out of battery ... the Sony will NOT.We did a test and it ran for over 12 hours and it still had battery life left.

lt's no use recording something so important only to find you missed half of the interview interrogation because the battery ran out!

We sometimes still use the spy cameras, i-phone etc but the Sony is the 'belt and braces'. Also remember that your mobile phone has recording capabilities too even if it is not an i-phone. Get to know your mobile phone's capabilities, many of them can do more than the i-phone l use.For spy cameras go to ebay and as SBC said just do a search for spy cameras.

SPREAD the word people and let's all MAKE the UKBA/HMRC  BEHAVE!

Us Cross-Border Shoppers are no longer defenceless against the illegal and unjust tactics used by UKBA/HMRC. We can take away these tactics that UKBA/HMRC have used for years to rob people of their goods and vehicles. This recording of them is a game breaker ... USE IT & TELL OTHERS about it. 

Let's show them that they are ACCOUNTABLE to us, the public! Let's FORCE them to abide by the LAW ... as they should have been doing for years!


Stay Safe 


We've had reports of some UKBA officers saying the 'chat' is not an interview. Whilst not the A-J's main interview, it is certainly part of the interview. lf your stop goes onto the A-J's, the 'chat' is recorded in their notebook with what questions they asked and what you replied. You are then 'invited' to sign this as a ;true and factual account' which will then be produced if you end up in court along with the notebook of the A-J interview, This 'chat' therefore is indeed part of the interview. ln the recent case involving Mr and Mrs Donny they did exactly that and produced the 'chat' and the 'A-J' as evidence. So either UKBA either have a 'chat' and don't record it in their notebook themselves or if they do record it in their notebook l shall audio record them. They can't have it both ways. l'd argue the point with them till hell freezes over! However, l would state that if the 'chat' did not lead to the 'A-J's l would erase the recording in their presence.

We have (and continue to do so) record all UKBA interviews incl 'chat' with no problems. Record everything! lt is your right! 


To further prove that the 'chat' is indeed part of the interview and hence 'evidence' to be used against you in appeals or court ... here is an extract from an FOI :-

The officer stated that in view of these quantities he wished to ask you some further questions but that you were not under arrest and were free to leave (without the goods in question) if you chose to do so. You elected to stay and answer further questions. Before continuing, however, the officer explained that he needed to record events thus far in his notebook. I should explain that officers are required to make and keep a notebook entry of all such challenges. Notebooks form evidence in the event of a case being appealed or (as on this occasion) the subject of complaint or other action, and they should be completed either contemporaneously or if that is not possible, immediately after a discussion/action. 


Look at the comments below from Bobi, they reiterate that Customs cannot stop you recording them. A further FOI by BD shows that they can't stop you recording at the intial stages either. This is when they first stop you for a supposed chat.

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  1. Because of N2D UKBA have changed their instructions to officers. Here are the new instructions..

    9 March 2012. Ref. 19924 - Question: “Have there been any changes to the instructions given to officers or changes to the manuals regarding interviews since 3rd October 2011?”
    Answer: Yes. In November 2011:
     a new chapter was added setting out that Excise Civil Interviews should not be tape recorded by staff but a contemporaneous written record should be made in an officer’s notebook.
     an amendment was made to the page “Excise and Civil Interviews” amending it to read:
    “Note: If a member of the public chooses to use their own recording equipment, such as a mobile phone or video camera, to make an audio or video record of the interview, officers cannot prevent them from doing so. However, officers should try to dissuade individuals from making the record by explaining that a full and accurate record of the interview will be made and they will have the opportunity to read, agree or have comments added at the end of the record.
    If an individual persists in making a recording, officers are not obliged to make any special amendments to their usual business processes or to the location of the interview in order to accommodate a recording. Similarly, officers are not obliged to have their image recorded and can politely ask that the use of recording equipment is directed away from them.”

  2. Thanks for that Bobi, interesting that 'officers are not obligated' but can only 'politely ask'! This means I think that BF officers can ask someone to stop videoing but if they refuse then the officer would be justified in slipping a paper bag over his head or as the officer in my case did holding a sheet of paper infront of his face.


  3. >>>>FURTHER UPDATE>>>>

    Got an FOI back this morning and the it quite clearly shows that Officers can't stop you recording the pre-Commerciality Interview 'Chat'!