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Thread: Undercover Customs

  1. #1
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
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    I have just been informed, by lynx, that Her Majesty's Customs and Excise enter premises, including private dwelling houses as part of their investigations. That they do this without getting a search warrant. This was revealed in a factual documentary called Undercover Customs.

    If this is the case I think that's appalling. Any entry should be with the use of a search warrant, signed by an independent Judge. There is no way that law enforcement should be allowed to do this sort of thing with there being checks and balances in place. There is no way we should have law enforcement agencies deciding that they are allowed to breach people's privacy and then just being able to do it, with applying to someone else to make the final decision.

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPaul View Post
    an independent Judge.
    As opposed to the other kind?
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
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    Quote Originally Posted by j2k4 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JPaul View Post
    an independent Judge.
    As opposed to the other kind?
    Fair point, I just think it's a common use thing.

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Well, there are (here, anyway) a terrible lot of things that are just waiting to be abused.

    If you want a real surprise, take a quick run through the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Insipid at best (and worst), it nonetheless strikes a chord with those whose only compulsion is an ever-expanding menu of rights "guaranteed" by the U.N., until all but the most dedicated reader reaches Article 29(3) - and I'm betting very few have ever gotten that far before swooning - which reads thus:

    "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

    The United Nations taketh away, even as it giveth.

    Amazing.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    There used to be a lot of people allowed to enter your house without a search warrant. I may have changed now. I seem to remember the following had that right:-

    A policeman in pursuit of a (suspect)criminal. Obvious.
    Electricity board.
    Gas board.
    Customs and Excise.
    TV Licence People. (Post Office did this in my day)
    Fire Brigade. Obvious.
    There was a lot less obvious like;
    Chief Medical Officer.
    Rat Catcher, etc.
    Planning Authorities.

    This may have changed, I don't read law books anymore.

    Apparently there are about 700 powers who have the right to enter your house without permission.

    Here is a question in the House Of Lords 13th March this year,in reply to the above figure being quoted.

    My Lords, if there really are 650 people with a right of entry to any householder's house, how is the householder to know which has a right and which does not?
    Last edited by bigboab; 04-17-2007 at 09:49 PM.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
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    I believe that, given the context, lynx was referring to covert entry. It would hardly be "Undercover Customs" otherwise.

    Oh and boab, I think things may have changed with ECHR becoming more of an issue in the UK. I know that's after your Policing days.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    bigboab's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +1
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    I have updated that post. There does not appear to be much change.

    Check Hansard 13th March this year.

    Over 650 powers have the right of entry without warrant.
    The best way to keep a secret:- Tell everyone not to tell anyone.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
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    That's stunning.

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    vidcc's Avatar there is no god
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    Perhaps everyone should install security devices that will light up 20 benson and hedges upon detection of the unwanted and unwarranted entrants.

    I think that there should be certain justifications for unauthorized entry especially in the absence of the occupier, but it should be limited to imminent health and safety risks such as fire, gas leak, severe infestations where the occupier is not available or other emergency situations.

    Things like the original example, it's outrageous to not obtain a warrant.

    On agencies such as TV License enforcement aren't there certain criteria that need to be met first? For example only authorized to enter premises that don't have a license and then having to be "let in" and not force entry

    There surely is not a blank authority for these groups to enter, there must be rules about justification.

    it’s an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your votes. Or, as Republicans call it, their vision for the future.

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPaul View Post
    I believe that, given the context, lynx was referring to covert entry. It would hardly be "Undercover Customs" otherwise.
    Actually, although the series was called "Undercover Customs", the "Undercover" part was about the initial covert surveillance. The actual entry to premises was done with the full knowledge of those being investigated, at least in most cases.

    I fully agree that in many cases the granting of such right of entry is appalling. I can understand the reasoning behind it - prevention of the removal or destruction of evidence for instance - but as far as I am aware there is no requirement for Customs Officers to justify their actions.

    In the case of gas and electricity suppliers there was at one time a legal requirement that the suppliers must check the installation of meters etc. I don't know if that's still the case. Given that they had to perform this duty they were given the right to enter premises in order to carry it out. However I think they are limited to right of entry in order to carry out checks and disconnections.

    I'm shocked to find out that there are so many though. It is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs, which is presumably what prompted the question in the Lords.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

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