Immigration interrogations

‘We can do Whatever we want! If you don’t stop calling it will only make it worse for your friend and you!’ 

It is important that you are Not beguiled by the presentation and projection of the UK as a [pre-Hostile Environment age] historically important pioneer for and protector of human rights nation, by the ‘everyone welcome’  images you find, for example when you arrive at a UK airport terminal (especially Heathrow). 

As you will have seen on our immigration clearance page    you may be interrogated and detained and/or deported.  Here we prepare you from real life cases (Terminal 4 is our example for it has in UK Black And Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, a particularly questionable name) experience about how the Hostile Environment is implemented in these interrogations, in terms of tactics and techniques. 

The following excerpts from a Heathrow Terminal 5 unannounced independent inspection (2015), sets the scene for just some of the main experiences you may be likely to encounter:

2.9 The inspection identified records that failed to:

demonstrate actions taken by BFOs were lawful and proportionate; and

show that officers were complying with policy and guidance.

2.10 Border Force was not maintaining accurate passenger detention records in all instances.


Terminal 5 is the newest of the Heathrow Terminals, and in Hostile Environment context experiences Terminal 4 tends to have the worst reputation, but there is no record to date that at the time this information resource has been created (July 2019) of it being independently investigated. 

The 2.9 findings confirm that the UK Border Force and UK IE are practising abuses of power and process of the most major kinds.  Apart from some elements in Parliament, and in investigative news media, and human rights organisations that have been contacted by those who have experienced interrogation, the significance of these two Hostile Environment in action findings, show major abuses in UK Immigration to not being effectively challenged.   Regarding 2.10 such records we know from those who have experienced interrogation, do not cover the overt forms of deceit and bullying that are used by the interrogators (more particulars below), but are kept to anodyne particulars about time date of interrogation, and extremely limited information on the basis on which the traveller was detained.

Initial phase (our example is common practice in Terminal 4):

You are likely to find yourself in a room with others, of different nationalities who have been unexpectedly detained. 

You will after a time (long or short) be interviewed/interrogated with sets of different questions – and certainly NO explanation of why, though in possession of a valid passport and visa, you have been detained. 

You will be told that if the answers you provide and supportive evidence at your interview/interrogation are not considered credible, or are seen as defective, you will be put back on the next available flight to the country you embarked from to come to the UK (temporary detention in an ‘IRC’ detention/deportation centre for a short to indefinite period of time, will also be something that you may be informed of, or experience).

Commonly, many detainees are from Commonwealth and other Non-EU countries, so as such the country they have come from has been an international two or three part ticket transit flight one (the Home Office is comfortable with sending back to the country the transit flight was made from, those who are in fact citizens of other countries). 

The UK Government Immigration Minister, directly, and the Home Secretary, indirectly, and the Foreign Minister, directly, and the Foreign Secretary, indirectly, will because of their well-evidenced policy of total dependency on guidance/direction of immigration and border control civil servant leads in the relevant agencies at the highest level in Whitehall, not awareness of the bilateral relations implications of this ‘if we aren’t satisfied with your answers’ policy by frontline border control officers.

The internal-UK race relations/multicultural values & inclusion implications of this revealed de-facto very contemptuous attitude of the Home Office towards other nations, can readily  be perceived, but are left out of account, with one or two honourable exceptions – such as actions and statements in the House of Commons by the current (at time of publishing this information resource) by the Home Secretary (but NOT the Immigration Minister – by the relevant ministers, due to their almost total, unquestioning reliance on the civil servants for ‘what to do, what to say [in parliament] guidance.’

Until the onset of the Hostile Environment there were just three grounds on which someone in possession of the correct documentation could be detained and interviewed/interrogated.  These were that there was knowledge or reasonable evidence-based suspicion that you had involvement in, or were considering whilst in the UK, a) terrorist activity, b) criminal activity, or c) extremist activity of a level to be a security threat to the UK. 

Most of those detained and interrogated tend to be visiting the UK for family reasons. You will normally be asked who your principal point of contact in the UK is (such as a British Citizen partner, or family member), and that they may or will be contacted. 

Special IT deployments of operational level Hostile Environment implementation:

An important, concerning instance of the multiagency core dynamic of operational level Hostile Environment (in this case with clarity that such very special technologies cannot but be reasonably assumed to have security services connection or direct provenance)

UK Border Force & IE phone communications methods & tactics regarding contact with the detainee’s advised main UK contact, can include deceits and tactics of the vilest, most cruel kinds (this statement is, as with all other direct Hostile Environment experience related information on this information resource website, based on real experiences: these tactics are one particularly extreme and important evidence of the conclusions detailed through the two points under the 2.9 section findings of the report referred to above).  An example of this is included below:

A [British Citizen by birth] partner was awaiting the arrival call and clearance through immigration and customs of his partner (they were a same-sex couple) early on the evening of 1st June 2013 at Heathrow’s Terminal 4.  Concern mounted and mounted as no call came (UKVI in New Delhi had already put THREE, in succession, ‘refused Signals’ in the partner’s passport, and all three refusals of requested visas had been revealed to have been made on unjustifiable grounds exposing unprofessional, and perceived homophobic motivated conduct by the UKVI New Delhi officers [British and/or foreign nationals]).

The partner waiting for his partner whom he knew had arrived a good hour or more ago, still had no call. A mutual friend of the couple called to ask how things were (he/the friend, was also aware of the grim, unpleasant reputation of what UK immigration at Heathrow Terminal 4 could do), and during this an unknown, outer London (0208: a BT landline number) number came up while the call was being received.  It turned out on trying to ring back – which gave a voice message that ‘this number is no longer in use’ — that it must have been something to do with UK immigration; that something bad had happened / was happening. 

The British Citizen partner then approached a Heathrow Terminal 4 staff member, who on learning the particulars, as if it was something she was very familiar with, indicated a UK Border Force/UK Immigration phone on the first floor of the terminal. 

The call made, the fears were verified, and also that the missed call had indeed come from within the Border Force part of the Terminal. The partner was then able to speak with his, detained partner.

He briefly learned (much more clearly reconfirmed when they were reunited 6 hours later) that the UK Border ‘Force’ officer who had detained him had said – with the call made not being answered as the British Citizen partner was receiving the call from the mutual friend of the couple (referred to above) had said to the detained partner, the following:

‘You lie, or your partner is false and not waiting for you: a call was made to the number you provided, but he didn’t answer, and so he must either be fake, or you have given a false explanation to us on why you have come here.’ 

The above was Never told directly to the detainee’s British Citizen partner, nor recorded on the temporary detention & release paperwork his partner was given on release. 

More importantly, the UK Border ‘Force’ UK IE officer that told this very cruel lie, never explained that in fact in their calling through to the waiting partner’s number, that his number was engaged on another call when they rang; instead they told the lie detailed above. Afterwards, when able to speak together for the first time – whilst still cruelly kept separated, and subsequently reunited – what had actually been done and attempted, was revealed in full. A matter of great disgust and shame in his country for allowing such brutal and deceitful conduct by civil servants.

The trauma caused by these truly disgusting Hostile Environment implementation forms of activity, to the partner in detention, and subsequently once the truth came out about what lies were told, to his partner, awaiting him, was extremely deep.  It is the conviction of both victims of such vicious psychological bullying, that such ‘black’ tactics are commonly used in this airport terminal (and almost certainly others, and at other airports and seaports).  With the partners being able to briefly speak for the first time for a period that the UK Border ‘Force’ allowed, the truth came out.

Subsequently there were a further five hours in which the UK Border Force/UK Immigration Enforcement interrogated the partner who had come to the UK, and briefly his British partner.  The experiences continued to be appalling.  The detained partner was interviewed separately on six occasions, each time it was by a different Hostile environment implanting Heathrow Terminal 4 Border Force/ UK IE officer. 

The British Citizen partner’s phone interrogation was instructive too in revealing the, clearly very accustomed, self-confident, bullying style of the Heathrow Terminal 4 Border Force/ UK IE officer doing the interrogating. ‘You just answer the questions, don’t speak about anything else – [in as many words] Understand!’ 

These were the experiences of a British Citizen [by birth] and his overseas national partner, who had been detained even though in possession of a valid passport and visa: they had fallen foul of the clearly not publicly stated, but very real operational level Hostile Environment at airport terminal frontline, that it appears (until independently proven to the contrary) has ‘those in possession of valid passport and visa’ ‘refused entry’ directives provided from highest to higher level within the Home Office.

More on this on other, relevant pages of this information resource. In this particular case the physical and telephone interrogation questions of the two forcibly separated [same-sex] partners only — because they were, as the interrogators must have known from the start, genuine – returned exactly the same information and evidences, including very senior level UKVI New Delhi, and also the Director of the British Council of the country the detained partner came from. The detained partner was kept in detention, and experienced 6 separate interrogations across almost 6 hours: the maximum period (at least at that time) one can be legally detained, and then either deported/placed in an immigration detention centre, or released.

On a mercenary callous note, as it has been revealed by ‘whistle-blowers’ that asylum and visa caseworkers are pay/financially incentivised to favour refusals, it would be naïve to assume that border force & IE officers at airports such as Heathrow, do not also receive from higher management levels, incentives to refuse entry to those they know to be genuine and in possession of all correct documentation.

It is important to alert those who come to Heathrow, any but in particular its Terminal 4, and other UK airports and seaports, that there is substantial IT manipulation of landline telephone communications in regard to contact with and between the given UK entry point’s Border Force/IE personnel holding someone legitimately in the UK and their partner, main family member, or business point of contact. 

The extreme (but almost certainly common Hostile environment practice) example above, was exceptional for over the 5-6 hours of needless detention and forced separation, that the UK immigration used at the very least 25+ different [BT] landline numbers. Every single one was found to either (this was almost every call):

a) result in on answering, the call being stopped, or

b) on calling back to the call received that had been on being answered stopped/cancelled, getting the message that this particular number was defunct/not in operation.

Regarding this behaviour, it is not possible to consider that the UK landlines system provider, British Telecom (BT), has lack of awareness of the use of multiple landline numbers by UK Border Force and IE at Terminal 4 of Heathrow (and doubtless the other Heathrow terminals and other major and minor airports in the UK.

It cannot be doubted that on the technical enablement front, BT MUST – unless BT provides evidence to the contrary, of its own free choice – be [doubtless under duress] enabling, with the necessary highest executive level acquiescence to the Home Office/Whitehall, such extreme Soviet era Eastern Bloc states and other totalitarian regimes style, frankly chilling interference in electronic communication systems. It is inconceivable that the UK security services could permit such a phenomenon to occur, without their direct guidance and possible technical assistance to implement such a landline extremely bizarre regime, to assist the UK Border Force/UK IE in its Hostile Environment enforcement work.

Concluding element from the experience detailed above, and some general reflections on the latter:

‘We can do Whatever we want! If you don’t stop calling it will only make it worse for your friend and you!’ 

The above from a UK immigration border force, civil servant, phone call message to the British Citizen partner of an overseas national wrongfully detained, interrogated, faced with immediate risk of deportation although with a valid passport and visa and NOT presented with any credible grounds for being detained. Date: 1st June 2014 (first anniversary of these two Hostile Environment victims, becoming partners). Time: 6pm to 12 midnight. Location: Heathrow Terminal 4.       Sadly — NOT so Great Britain!

It must be remembered though that tactics unscrupulous tactics of the most callous kinds, are exclusively Hostile Environment enforcement related, and distract badly, often with deadly consequences (such as evidenced by the UK immigration entry/exit record of the Manchester Arena bomber, in terms of multiple occasions when he could have been identified as the deadly threat he was, entering and exiting the UK) from the key duties of border control, regarding counteracting terrorist, criminal, and extremist threats. 

Those using these tactics are directed, it can logically be concluded, from very high strategic levels in the Home Office/Whitehall and their Hostile Environment implementation strategy being put into effect, so that deportation targets can be met: something the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd learned too late, to the cost of her job, re quotas of population groups (Windrush, and LGBT being major ones) to be targeted.