Dear Home Office,

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Would you please provide any information you hold about the legal/statutory basis for identity screening or immigration checks at airports or sea ports, on passengers travelling between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, as carried out either by the police or by the Border Force?

I would prefer the information in electronic form by email, please.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Dr Kaihsu Tai

FOI Requests, Home Office

Mr Tai

Thank you for contacting the Home Office with your request.

This has been assigned to a caseworker (case ref 40506). We will aim to send you a full response by 23/08/2016 which is twenty working days from the date we received your request.

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you,

J Douglas
FOI Requests

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FOI Responses, Home Office

1 Attachment

Dear Kaihsu Tai,

 

Please find attached the Home Office response to your request.  Apologies
for the delay and I hope it hasn’t caused you too much inconvenience.

 

Kind Regards

 

M Seedansingh

Information Rights Team

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Kaihsu Tai left an annotation ()

The information disclosed: “Air and sea routes between Northern Ireland and Great Britain are domestic UK routes. Immigration Enforcement officers are entitled to carry out intelligence led operations to identify persons who should not be in the UK. Officers can speak to any of the travelling public using these routes; a request for identity can form part of that conversation. Where there is a reasonable basis for the officer to believe that the passenger may be an immigration offender then the officer may question further in line with the Singh v Hammond judgement as outlined in section 31.19.3 of the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance.
Immigration Enforcement officers may arrest without warrant anyone they have reasonable grounds to suspect has committed an immigration offence and/or may be liable for removal directions.”

Section 31.19.3 of the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...
“31.19.3 The Singh v Hammond judgment
In Singh v Hammond the Court held that:
‘An examination [under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971] ... 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.’
Before seeking to question someone, an IO will need to have information in his possession which suggests that the person may be of immigration interest (that is there are doubts about that person’s leave status). Under these circumstances the IO may lawfully seek to stop that person with a view to asking them consensual questions about their identity and leave status away from
Enforcement Instructions and Guidance
the point of entry to the UK and after the date when that person first entered the UK. The information in the IO’s possession should be sufficient to constitute a reasonable suspicion that that particular person may be an immigration offender. Any IO stopping and questioning an individual will need to be in a position to justify and record the reasons why they considered that threshold to be satisfied in that particular case.
Any questioning must be consensual. The paragraph 2 power to examine does not include a power to compel someone to stop or to require someone to comply with that examination. Should a person seek to exercise their right not to answer questions and leave, there is no power to arrest that person purely on suspicion of committing an immigration offence.
Equality Act issues
Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for IOs carrying out their duties to do any act which constitutes race discrimination. ‘Discrimination’ includes treating some people less favourably than others on the basis of race (which includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins). Therefore, an IO must not stop an individual based on their physical appearance. Race can never be the basis of the IOs ‘reasonable suspicion’ that someone has committed an immigration offence (31.19.2 above for further details).
IOs must not stop or request identification from all persons in an attempt to show that they are not discriminating. They must be able to demonstrate and record their ‘reasonable suspicion’, supported by their clear rationale, in all cases.
There is an exception that allows discrimination on the basis of ethnic or national origin or nationality when undertaking immigration functions, specifically at the Border, if it is authorised by a minister. However, such an authorisation does not cover such operations.
In order to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010, an IO must not, amongst other things, do the following:
 stop and/or examine individuals in reliance in any way on ‘profiling’ on the basis of race
 point out individuals to officers of other agencies and ask them to stop them under their
powers and then refer them to an IO
Enforcement Instructions and Guidance
 engage a person on the basis of their appearance, race, colour, ethnic origin or nationality”

Dear M Seedansingh,

Thank you for your response. I am pleased to confirm that I have received all the information I requested.

Sincerely,

Dr Kaihsu Tai

FOI Responses, Home Office

This mailbox does not accept incoming messages. Any FOI requests or
inquiries should be sent to [1][Home Office request email].

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Kaihsu Tai left an annotation ()

The information disclosed said “Immigration Enforcement officers may arrest without warrant anyone they have reasonable grounds to suspect has committed an immigration offence and/or may be liable for removal directions.”

The guidance said “Any questioning must be consensual. The paragraph 2 power to examine does not include a power to compel someone to stop or to require someone to comply with that examination. Should a person seek to exercise their right not to answer questions and leave, there is no power to arrest that person purely on suspicion of committing an immigration offence.”

The judgment in Baljinder Singh v. Hammond is here: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b6cb14...

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