Secret Baggage Searches For Air Passengers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by DesktopCommando, Feb 28, 2013.

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  1. This could open a can of worms for people claiming they didnt put something in their luggage, from these airports.....

    Secret Baggage Searches For Air Passengers

    Air passengers are having their bags secretly searched for alcohol and cigarettes in a practice that is "prohibited", an inspector's report has found.

    Customs staff routinely searched travellers and holidaymakers bags without the owners being present, according to the report.

    However, it raised concerns that "there were no assurances that this power was being used in a lawful, proportionate and controlled manner".

    The report, by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, found that: "There had been an absence of any assurance being undertaken to ensure that the correct procedures were being followed to protect Human Rights obligations during these searches."

    Covert searches of luggage are prohibited under the current Border Force Enforcement Handbook guidance.

    According to the report into practices at Birmingham Airport, information from the Border Force indicated 1,147 seizures were made as a result of the secret searches between October 2011 and September 2012.

    The searches were carried out to try to catch those bringing more than their allocated allowance of cigarettes and alcohol into the country.

    However, despite the large number of successful seizures, there were no records to show occasions where bag searches were made and nothing was found.

    Civil liberties campaigners say that the searches that could not be guaranteed to be either "lawful or proportionate" were an abuse of power.

    [​IMG]

    Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: "Security on aircraft is clearly important, however people shouldn't be afraid that their luggage will be searched on spurious grounds or at random.

    "People can't challenge these searches if they don’t even know they're going on.

    "The glaring absence of any detail about how these powers have been used leaves open a number of troubling questions, particularly how many people's luggage was searched without anything being found."

    Senior managers at the airport had said that the searches were carried out in accordance with the 2008 HMRC consultation and the draft Code of Practice.

    After the inspection, Mr Vine's team was told that the internet-based Border Force Enforcement Handbook had now been updated to reflect the HMRC consultation paper.

    However, when the inspectors checked: "Our access to the web-based Border Force Enforcement Handbook established it had not been updated to include this guidance."

    A Border Force spokesperson said: "Border Force protects the public and our economy by stopping the importation and exportation of illegal and restricted goods.

    "Searching baggage, including when the owner is not present, is a legal and proportionate response to this issue. Any such searches must be authorised by a senior officer.

    "We have already taken action on the recommendations the Chief Inspector made in his report."
     
  2. terroratthepicnic

    terroratthepicnic LE Reviewer Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Runners

    Would be interesting to see how many reports of theft have been made after these searches have been made.

    How could they proove that a member of the customs team hasn't been stealing expensive items from the cases?
     
  3. what's new about that?
     
  4. What is the problem regarding secret searches of baggage?.

    if you are not transporting illegal/undeclared items then you have nothing to be worried about.

    Secret searches being 'prohibited' is policing whilst being handcuffed, the wrong doers are sneaky bstards, so surely customs have to sneaky/clever also.
     
  5. FORMER_FYRDMAN

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    If they're after booze and fags, there's no reason for the searches to be secret - just stop people when they're going through the green channel.
     
  6. Close, but no cigar.

    Actually.... Not really close.

    At all.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. That has to be the most naive thing I've ever heard in my whole life. If you've done nothing wrong, you've nothing to fear?

    Oh deary me. I'm not sure I like your tone.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. It's fine citizen the state knows what's best and loves us in every way.
    Please don't take my smokes governor.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. The old "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" argument. Pure Bullshit when it was first spoken, and just as bullshit now.

    Do you think, for an instant, that the power to perform secret searches won't be abused? That there won't be plants / thefts from luggage by bent officers? Really?

    Let's get something straight shall we? Any power that is granted WILL be abused at some point. If there's heavy pressure coming down from 'on top' targets will be met one way or another, if it's planting an extra 100 fags which are then confiscated to improve the figures, or a senior officer deciding "there were other people about, so they couldn't have taken anything", while completely refusing to hold a full inquiry, because of time / morale / officer availabilty constraints, then corners will always be cut, and the "right" outcome will "be seen to be done", no matter what. Include the "one of ours" instinct of most people, and the little lies don't stay too little for too long. Human nature at it's basest.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. **** me, I type slowly!
     
  11. It's not documented. There's no way of proving when/where/what happened. I'd say that anyone convicted as a result of these searches has fairly good grounds for an appeal.
     
  12. True but guess the others in queue behind held up causes issues, those not guilty of trying to do wrong often get fearful, frustrated etc if 'picked out' for investigation.

    Obvious method is if secret searches are carried out, they are done on camera so theft issue covered etc.

    Bottom line is we give the airline our property and pick it up (hopefully) at our destination, opportunity for others eg handlers to open it is there, if people are paranoid about whether customs have done a secret search then put a personalised plastic zip/cable tie on the zips, which raises your chance of identifying if case opened.
     
  13. Generally if I am paying someone to take my property and look after it for a short period I am not expecting them to rummage around in it when I'm not there. Just because the opportunity exists does not mean it should happen.
     
  14. I am not saying i trust our law enforcement or judiciary, however unless i have the property on my person all the time i cannot control who has opened it, now i assume those criticising my view do not allow their luggage to go in the planes hold and only use carry on bag, as if you allow the luggage out of your eyesight then you are trusting customs, luggage handlers etc.
     
  15. Got kids?
    Can I **** them ***********?
    If not, don't let them out of your sight.