Harassment of passengers on buses

David Hansen made this Freedom of Information request to UK Border Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear UK Border Agency,

I refer to the article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/05...

Please assist me with my enquiries into this matter by answering the following questions

1) The article quotes that this harassment is "regularly held at various public transport hubs". As well as bus stations please list every other type of "public transport hub" at which this harassment has been unertaken. The article quotes "Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool Central and Crewe" two of which are undoubtedly railway stations.

2) Please list every "public transport hub" at which this harassment has been undertaken.

3) The article states that "someone who cannot satisfactorily prove their identity and nationality are removed from the bus "so as not to unduly hold other passengers up."" Under precisely what laws are your harassers permitted to ask people to "prove" their "identity", block them from leaving and remove them from a public transport vehicle? Note the word precisely. Generalised waffle such as "the immigration act 1971" is not an answer to this question.

4) Does this harassment extend to private transport? Are people walking, riding bikes and in cars harassed in the same way?

The current government stated that it wanted to move away from the "Ihre Papiere, bitte" approach the previous government was rapidly introducing to a formerly free country. Government bods demanding papers from passengers on buses in the UK is no different to when these were called controls and done by people with swastikas on their arms. That is not something I will tolerate.

Please note that "replies" which involve attachments in proprietary file formats are not acceptable. A reply which is not in plain text format will be deemed to be a refusal to answer.

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

Dear UK Border Agency,

Two other questions which should be answered nwith the others.

5) Please provide a full list of documents with which people may "prove their identity and nationality". How many are needed?

6) Is any information demanded by your bods retained? If so how is it retained and how is it protected? Please provide a copy of the retention, protection and disposal policy.

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

Freedom Of Information Team ( IND ), UK Border Agency

Dear David Hansen

Re: Harassment of passengers on buses (92296)

Thank you for you e mails of the 6th and 7th November concerning the above matter. We are currently dealing with your enquiry and will respond shortly.

Kind Regards

FOI Team

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M Bimmler left an annotation ()

You may be interested in knowing that I've made a very broadly framed request in relation to the same topic and same Guardian article here:


The response is delayed but I'll be interested in comparing the responses to these two separate requests.

Professional Standards for Enforcement, UK Border Agency

1 Attachment


Dear Mr Hansen


Please find the response to your FOI request attached.  


Kind Regards,

Professional Standards for Enforcement


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David Mery left an annotation ()

FYI, I mention your request at http://gizmonaut.net/blog/uk/2011/12/be_...

(The only aspect I focus on is the avoidance of eye contact considered suspicious.)

Dear Professional Standards for Enforcement,

You are yet more officials too arrogant to reply to your employers, one of who is me, in the plain text format they have requested. Not only that, you are so arrogant that you expect your employer to turn your reply into that format. With people like you it is no wonder this area is a mess.

For completeness below is your reply in the format you should have provided it in.

David Hansen
[email address]
Our Ref: FOI 20568
07 December 2011

Dear Mr Hansen

Thank you for your email of 6 November, where you have requested information on the UK
Border Agency‟s immigration operations at bus stations. This request falls to be dealt with
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

You specifically asked us to provide;
1) A list of the types of public transport hubs, including bus stations, at which these
operations have taken place,
2) A list of locations at which these operations took place,
3) The specific laws that allow Immigration Officers to stop and question a person alighting
from a public transport vehicle,
4) Whether these laws extend to private transport vehicles; and whether people walking,
riding bikes and travelling in cars are treated in the same way.

These types of operations fall into two categories; Crime reduction operations (CROPs) which
are intelligence led operations organised by the police and undertaken in public areas or crime
„hotspots‟ with support from UK Border Agency, and Street operations (StOps) which are
immigration led operations.

I can confirm that during the financial year 2010/2011 the UK Border Agency undertook both
CROPs and StOps at train, bus, tube and coach public transport hubs, at the following
locations; Clacton train station, Dewbury bus station, Harrow & Wealdstone tube station,
Lewisham train station, Liverpool coach station, Liverpool Lime Street train station, Manchester
central coach station, & Shude Hill bus station.

The information above is sourced from the National Operations Database (NOD) system. The
NOD is a management information tool and data from is not and are not subject to the detailed
checks that apply for National Statistics. Figures provided from the NOD do not constitute part
of National Statistics and should be treated as provisional and may be subject to change.

The specific powers that Immigration Officers use to stop and question a person „in-country‟,
comes from paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971 (as amended) and the
interpretation of this by the Court of Appeal in the case of Singh v Hammond in 1987. The
Court of Appeal in Singh v Hammond held that:
“An examination [under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the ’71 Act] ... can properly be
conducted by an immigration officer away from the place of entry and on a later date
after the person has already entered ... if the immigration officer has some information
in his possession which causes him to enquire whether the person being examined is a
British citizen and, if not, ... whether he should be given leave and on what conditions.”
Using these powers Immigration Officers may legitimately question individuals encountered in
public places in order to determine their immigration status under three specific circumstances:

The intelligence is so specific that the Immigration Officer knows the immigration offender
will be travelling on a specific date, time, location, train etc;
The Immigration Officer has formed a reasonable suspicion that the individual is an
immigration offender e.g. from what is said by the person during the course of a prior
interview with a police officer; or
Where the individual displays an „adverse reaction‟ to a clearly identifiable immigration
presence. This could give rise to a „reasonable suspicion‟ that the person is an immigration
offender. An „adverse reaction‟ could include attempting to avoid passing through or near a
group of Immigration Officers, a sudden or unexplained change of direction, avoiding eye
contact or hanging back from barriers.

The powers extend to all public areas where it is safe and lawful for the immigration officer to
conduct enquiries under the three specific circumstances given above, and as such, they do
not favour any particular mode of transport or specific locations such as public bus stations.
Immigration Officers would not normally extend these powers to stop private vehicles in order
to question individuals.

Guidance given on powers, policy and practice on undertaking immigration operations in public
places, other than airports and seaports, is available in chapter 31(paragraph 31.19) of the
Enforcement Instructions and Guidance at:
If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of
the UK Border Agency sending a substantive reply to your original request and should be
addressed to:
Information Access Team
Home Office
Ground Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
e-mail: [email address]
During the independent review the department‟s handling of your information request will be
reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with this response. If you remain
dissatisfied after this internal review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information
Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.
Yours sincerely
C Pick
Professional Standards for Enforcement

Yours sincerely,

David Hansen

Dear UK Border Agency,

I request an internal review of your failure to answer questions 5) and 6) of my enquiry. These questions are at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ha...

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

Dear UK Border Agency,

I request a separate internal review into the veracity of the partial answer to my enquiry you have provided.

In the Observer article it states that Norton Street, Liverpool Lime Street, Liverpool Central and Crewe are locations where this harassment has taken place.

Your reply at http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ha... gives a, supposedly complete, list of harassment locations as "Clacton train station, Dewbury bus station, Harrow & Wealdstone tube station, Lewisham train station, Liverpool coach station, Liverpool Lime Street train station, Manchester central coach station, & Shude Hill bus station".

Norton Street is perhaps what you call Liverpool coach station and Liverpool Lime Street appears on both lists.

Liverpool Central and Crewe do not appear in your list and either your list is incomplete, or the article is wrong. Which is it? If your position is that the article is wrong then please say so clearly.

In view of the questions regarding the veracity your reply please provide a copy of the letter "written by a UKBA inspector based in Liverpool", with personal information removed.

I note that your earlier reply clearly claims that you discriminate against people travelling by public transport with this harassment. You state that you do not usually extend this harassment to people travelling by moving private vehicles. I take it that you include moving bicycles in that assertion. I also note that you do not include moving pedestrians in that assertion. Please confirm if these deductions are correct or not.

Please note that "replies" which involve attachments in proprietary file formats are not acceptable. A reply which is not in plain text format will be deemed to be a refusal to answer. It may only be possible to provide a copy of the letter written by a UKBA inspector based in Liverpool" in a proprietary format. In that case providing a copy of the letter only, not your reply, in Acrobat formt will be acceptable.

Yours faithfully,

David Hansen

J.A.F. Mitchell left an annotation ()

Might be of assistance to read recent ICO Decision Notice FS50389827 -
"The Commissioner reads section 11(1)(a) as providing the applicant with the right to a copy of the information and to have that copy in the form that they prefer – for example, hard copy (paper/printed), electronic copy, audio tape, or video tape.
The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights)recently found that the meaning of section 11 is clear and that on a straightforward reading it does not include the ability to express a preference for the electronic format in which information should be provided.
The Commissioner’s view is ......in short, although an applicant can ask for an electronic copy they are not entitled to specify down to the next level, the specific software format."

David Hansen left an annotation ()

I am not asking for things in a "specific software format". I am asking for things in plain text. The reasons for this should be obvious.

Some things may not be able to be rendered in plain text, at least easily. One obvious example where it is impossible is a drawing. It would take some time to accurately render a scanned letter in plain text and that time is not usually worth the expense in my view (I pay for that time through the taxes I pay). For these exceptions I offer bods the option. Some bods do what their employer, me, requests. Other bods are too arrogant for that and instead send "replies" which consist of the words, "Please see the attached Microshit Word Document, Acrobat file, my funky wordprocessor file (add to and delete as appropriate). Useless, but the sort of thing arrogant bods do.

If parts of the FoI system, which I also pay for, get their decisions wrong then that is something I may have to take up with them.

FOI Responses, UK Border Agency

Dear Mr. Hansen,


Thank you for your email of 11 December 2011, in which you ask for an
internal review of our response to your Freedom of Information request of
07 November 2011.


We will aim to send you a full response by 13 January 2012, which is
twenty working days from the date when we received your request.


The internal review will be carried out by N. Dibsdale. If you have any
questions then please do not hesitate to contact FoI Requests using the
above e-mail address.


Yours sincerely


FoI Requests

Home Office

2, Marsham Street





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FOI Requests, UK Border Agency

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Hansen,


Please find attached letter and report in regards to your request for an
Internal Review.




N Dibsdale

Information Access Team: Case Officer

Information Management Services

Home Office



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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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