UK Liberty

eBorders arrest rate worse than that for random stops and searches

Posted in law and order, surveillance society by ukliberty on March 17, 2009

I thought readers would be interested to know that the arrest rate for eBorders, an ostensibly targeted screening program, is many times worse than that for ostensibly random stops and searches under s44 Terrorism Act 2000.

Thanks to James Bridle’s FOIA requests for figures for s44, we know that the Met’s use of s44  has so far resulted in 2,108 arrests out of 191,478 stops and searches – arrest rate 1.1%.

[update 20 March] Or take David Mery’s calculation (see comments below).  There were 3,469 arrests out of 275,300 S44(1) and S44(2) stop and searches  in England and Wales – arrest rate 1.26%.


Thanks to a Borders Agency spokesperson we know that eBorders has so far resulted in 2900 arrests out of 82 million passenger screens – arrest rate 0.0035%.

And they think that’s good?


11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. David Mery said, on March 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    The data in this FoI response is a bit surprising – though it doesn’t affect your overall point.

    The figures given are larger than that included in the S95 stats. See for some more sources on this.

    Looking at his follow up request at things get even weirder. If you look at the last tab of the attached spreadsheet. It includes S44 as arrest reason group (further distinguished in S44(1) and S44(2)) but section 44 is about stop and search powers, not arrest powers.

    As this table describes S60, S44 and PACE as arrest reason groups, one possibility would be that the MPS included stats for all stop and searches, but then that is contradicted by the title of the table.

    For the time being, I find the S95 data appears more consistent and hence more trustworthy and is hence the data I’ve been using for S44.

    The quality of the data available should hopefully improve soon. The Home Office is working a new series of Statistics Bulletins that should provide more information on this. From an FoI response I received today:

    “The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data on arrests and convictions under terrorist legislation and those under other legislation but following a terrorist investigation. Once complete, a statistical bulletin to cover information on arrests, charges and convictions will be published. It is anticipated that the statistical bulletin will be published shortly. Subsequent editions of the bulletin will be published on a quarterly basis.”

    br -d

  2. ukliberty said, on March 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Hi David, I will certainly look at those figures as you suggest, as that does seem peculiar.

    You say on your site (I think I’m correct in thinking that you quote the statistics published under s95): “The official 2005/6 statistics were eventually published: the number of pedestrians stopped and searched under section 44(2) by the Metropolitan Police jumped 2.7 times to 11,407. Fourty-nine, still less than half a percent were arrested in connection with terrorism; 148 were arrested for other reasons. (In 2006/7, the number of pedestrians stopped and searched under section 44(2) by the Metropolitan Police was 10,939. Thirteen, less than an eighth of a percent, were arrested in connection with terrorism, and 159 for other reasons.)”

    So, for the statistics published under s95, the arrest rate was 1.7% in 2005/6 and for 1.5% in 2006/07.

  3. David Mery said, on March 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    That’s for S44(2) for the Met. The S95 stats do include data for S44(1) as well – I put the total in my comment to James Bridle’s FoI request.

    (In the piece on my site you quote from I include links to all the source documents, so if you wish to slice the data differently you can easily go back to the sources.)

    Bottom line is that it makes one wonder whether the Home Office conducts any risk assessment before putting these programmes in place.

    br -d

  4. ukliberty said, on March 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Ah, my mistake – you do make that clear and I didn’t read it properly.

  5. Nothing to see here, move on said, on March 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    listen to the crap and spin of E-borders at:

  6. Nothing to see here, move on said, on March 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Listen to the spin of E-borders by Phil Woolas UK immigration minister who refused to have a face-2-face interview with others on this topic.


    Those others interviewed
    Andy Cooper (director general of tour operatives)
    Henry Porter (writer for Observer)

  7. David Mery said, on March 20, 2009 at 12:16 am

    See p.15 of

    (found via

    “25. Table PC above shows the number of searches carried out under
    legislation to prevent acts of terrorism (see note 9) from 1996/97 to 2006/07
    together with the number of arrests resulting. Nationally 1% of the searches
    resulted in an arrest. Although many of the arrests were not under the
    Terrorism Act they did include arrests for terrorist related matters and other
    serious crimes.”

    Total S44(1) and S44(2) stop and searches: 275,300
    Total resultant arrests: 3,469
    This gives a percentage of 1.26% for all the England and Wales forces from 1996/97 to 2006/07.

    br -d

  8. ukliberty said, on March 20, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Many thanks David.

  9. TD said, on October 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    (i) You cant measure the success using the arrest rate because the remaing 81,997,000 not arrested may have not been criminals. You need to measure against the actual number of crooks there were. (if there were 2900 crooks and we had 2900 arrests, then the success rate would be 100%, oui? )

    (ii) arrests are only a part of what e-borders is about. The vast majority of cases i.e immigration cases, do not require arrest and people are, for example, refused leave to enter and the port and then removed. The “benefits” are wider than just people nicked.

  10. ukliberty said, on October 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Hi TD,

    (i) Who said anything about a success rate?

    I am merely judging the scheme by the criteria Government Ministers and spokespersons appear to use.

    (ii) I agree that e-Borders isn’t only about arrests, but those are the only figures (as far as I am aware) that have been made available.


  11. Ignorance or mendacity? « UK Liberty said, on December 8, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    […] That’s it! There is nothing else offered to refute the claim that there is “little evidence of effectiveness”. Nothing. Possibly because there is little evidence of effectiveness. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: