Sunday, September 23, 2012

More UKBA raids

The UK Borders Agency continues its harrassment of migrant communities in South London.

Last week three people were arrested in a raid on Tiendas del Sur shop at Elephant and Castle (pictured below), an area that is a major centre of Latin American social life in London

Earlier this month a Lewisham restaurant, Everest King Curry on  Loampit Hill, was fined £15,000 following a raid last year which saw the arrest of 3 members of staff from Sri Lanka. Two of them were later deported despite having claimed for asylum. Deportations to Sri Lanka have been widely criticised because of the continuing use of torture and other human rights abuses against the Tamil minority there.

UKBA has a number of Local Immigration Teams carrying out these fishing expeditions. The Bexley, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark LIT is based at Becket House, 60-68 St Thomas Street SE1 (near London Bridge Station). The Croydon LIT and the Lewisham & Bromley LIT both operate out of Electric House at 3 Wellesley Road, Croydon.

(See previous report on operations in New Cross and Elephant)



In theory, in these raids, UKBA officers are supposed follow their own recently revised code of conduct as set out in Chapter 31 of the UKBA Operational Enforcement Manual (August 2012):

1. That they identify themselves and show a warrant card

2. That they give a valid reason to stop and ask anyone questions (such as they have a reasonable suspicion you have broken immigration laws).

3. But that they then inform people that they are NOT obliged to reply to any of questions UKBA asks them.

4. That they tell people that they are not under arrest and that they are free to go if they want.

It is illegal for immigration officers from UKBA (or the police) to stop people because of the colour of their skin or the language that they speak (Equality Act 2010):

"In order to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010, an Immigration Officer 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;
- or Engage a person on the basis of their appearance, race, colour, ethnic origin or nationality."

All of this is useful to know if you happen upon this increasingly occurring and depressing state of affairs and want to be of possible use to those being hassled.

lala said...

Similar raids in Brixton were promoted widely by UKBA on the social media, their 'hashtag' on twitter was swiftly overwhelmed by disapproving voices, more at Brixto blog

Nice one Transpontine for writing this up