For anyone planning a trip to the UK this summer, please see some useful information below from John Murray of AOPA UK about the GAR Form. There are now significant penalties in place for non compliance (£1,000 fine!). John recommends using the the OnlineGAR website for all GAR Form Submission - https://www.onlinegar.com/aopa.olg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; , this will ensure that the GAR form is routed to the correct region. The receipt can be used as proof of GAR Submission.
just to pick up on a minor point - there's no such thing as a journey which 'only concerns police' All journeys concern BF as well.
the duplication of Special Branch comes about via the terrorism Act 2000 which spelled out that police were concerned with CTA (CI,IoM NI and RoI ) journeys but all those journeys are also under the jurisdiction of BF. Police try to coordinate with BF but the laws are a little at variance. So you cant just read the tACT 2000 in isolation and say 'my journey only concerns police'
The Online Gar is the only way to guarantee that you have discharged your obligations as to notifying the relevant agencies(Police AND BF).
I've dealt with a few recent queries where local police did not accept this but orders from on high have gone out and I can assure everyone that this is the official position - submit online, show your GAR ID and you are fireproof - any challenges to this from local officers should be reported. On this point at least there is NO local variation. Police and BF all have access to the central system and are expected to use it. If you have a GAR ID it is on their system - full stop.
Submitting paper Gars does not offer the same guarantee(unless of course you know and carefully copy in all required offices) even then it will probably not be on the system
Submitting an email or fax to the BF NCU also does not guarantee that Police Special Branch will receive your GAR.
To file ONline the AOPA site is free to private users and the OnlineGAR.com does the same thing but has more convenient facilities. These are the only ways of filing online at present (SkyDemon routes via OnlineGAR.com) and the only way to guarantee your GAR gets to the right place
- even if you use a flight planning system which says it forwards your GAR (unless it is SkyDemon) it will be using the email to NCU which as I've said does not distribute reliably and is NOT an online submission. It is important also to remember that sending an email to the NCU is much slower than sending Online - the email has to be opened and checked then rekeyed into the system. Gars in error will be rejected and you may not receive notification. Sometimes this takes many hours and may even arrive after the flight itself whereas the online submission arrives at all offices in seconds fully receipted and validated.
Since last year it has become irrelevant to talk about 'designated airfields' as previously understood. The Commissioners Directions (which underpin the GAR) were changed in May 2013 and made it mandatory to prenotify even if arriving at a customs/immigration airport. I know some will say that under Schedule 7 of TACT 'police' designated airfields still exist but as all journeys also fall under Border Force law then you still have to comply with the Commissioners Directions as well, and need to submit a GAR in advance even for police designated airfields and even if under the strict letter of TACT you are not obliged to submit a GAR to police.
The only current loophole to this is to or from IoM from a police designated airport
....anyone still with me ?
The CD's (Commissioners Directions) effectively said you need to submit a GAR even if travelling via a designated airfield. Leaving aside the issue of notice periods this has effectively meant that there is no facility whatsoever to just 'turn up' and declare on arrival.
AOPA has fought hard on these new rules but the reality is that 'pre notification' is here to stay. It is AOPA's view that the best we can achieve is to agree to such prenotification but with the really stupid notification periods reduced to operationally sensible timings (such as in line with flight plan) plus no prosecutions if for realistic reasons it is not possible to submit in advance.
some bits are therefore simple -
1) Always submit a GAR in advance
2) if you cant then contact BF on arrival and explain
3) Notice periods are still under negotiation and developments will be reported here but BF has issued a statement to say they will not enforce notification periods until negotiations are complete -
If you are flying to the CTA from a police designated airfield then you do not need to give 12 hours notice (Tact does not demand it and even though the BF CD's do say 12 hours the fact that BF has no intention of enforcing it leaves it open to file with a lesser notice period)
If you are flying to the CTA but not from a police designated airfield (such as CoA airfields) then it is possible that your local Force may take a harder line than BF - some are, some aren't - the constabularies are all independent and some may dig their heels in and demand 12 hours whilst others have demonstrated this concessionary approach.
As I have said to many recent enquiries the situation is clear in one respect
1) always try to file in advance
2) the practical implementation of notice periods is very regionally varied - whilst BF and ACPO are trying to get a consistent national position it is best to check with your local SB office and find out if they are following the same policy as BF and ACPO (i.e not enforcing notice periods for the time being) .
not wishing to disparage any local officers but unfortunately the national message has not always percolated down - and sometimes local advice will be a little behind the drag curve- you cant assume your local SB officer is fully conversant with changing national policy.
Of course if you are uncomfortable with trying to work through the minefield of notification periods then stick to the published rule 4 hours EU inbound 12 hours CTA (in/out) 24 hours elsewhere.
A large amount of work is going on right now to try to resolve this and to have a simple set of consistent rules for notification periods - one thing is sure though that prenotification is here to stay.
RE the last post about contacting the local officer to check if the online GAR had been received - well you're absolutely right it shouldn't be necessary at all. Since launch in April 2013 there has not been a single case where an online submitted and receipted gar could be proved to have 'not arrived'. In all such cases it has been local officers not understanding the system and in the case of one office simply not bothering to log on. If your local officer says he knows nothing of your GAR but you have a GAR ID report it to me if you're happy to work through AOPA or contact BF Director of Operations at Marsham Street London.
Yes there are teething problems but they are mainly human beings - I have also had many cases in the last year where pilots have been adamant they have submitted online when they have simply sent an email
FlyingInIreland.com:- THE Resource for Irish Aviation Information
To use the free AOPA submission go to http://www.aopa.co.uk/index.php?option= ... Itemid=815
Near the top there is a link "FREE basic service". Click that.
You'll have to register for OnlineGAR.com and then return to that page. Then you can submit that GAR from that page for free.
The GAR guidance has changed again. I have included the new instructions from the UK Border Force on the "Useful Forms" page on this website, see http://www.flyinginireland.com/useful-forms.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
You can download the document directly at http://www.flyinginireland.com/index.ph ... t+2014.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
FlyingInIreland.com:- THE Resource for Irish Aviation Information
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