The Media today are reporting that the Border Agency have carried out an operation aimed at detaining illegal immigrant. Apparently this is inappropriate behaviour for a Government.
Ukip condemns Home Office roundup of suspected illegal immigrants
Nigel Farage calls actions deeply disturbing and ‘not the British way of doing things’
‘We should not be stopped by officialdom and have to prove who we are,’ said the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage. Photograph: Ken McKay / Rex Features
A Home Office roundup of suspected illegal immigrants was condemned on Friday by the Ukip leader Nigel Farage as deeply disturbing, as Labour called on the home secretary to reveal whether the sweep had broken official guidelines on how to conduct stop and search operations.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also said it was investigating the incident.
The sweep by the UK Border Agency, mainly at rail stations, has caused a furore, partly because the Home Office issued press releases and Twitter updates saying how many “immigration offenders” had been arrested, apparently prejudging their guilt.
The Twitter updates followed the Home Office use of vans warning illegal immigrants that they must “go home” or face arrest.
Farage said: “Spot checks and being demanded to show your papers by officialdom are not the British way of doing things. Yes, of course we want to deal with illegal immigration, but what’s the point of rounding people up at railway stations if at the same time they’re still flooding in through Dover and the other nearly hundred ports in this country.
“I’m astonished that the Home Office has become so politicised that they’re actually advertising ‘another 10 arrested’. Before long they’ll be live video-streaming these arrests. I don’t like it. It really is not the way we’ve ever behaved or operated as a country. We don’t have ID cards; we should not be stopped by officialdom and have to prove who we are.”
He said the solution lay in proper checks at the borders.
Chris Bryant, the shadow home office minister said it was wrong to arrest people on the basis of racial profiling. He asked the Home Office to disclose whether the sweep was based on specific intelligence and reasonable suspicion, as required in Home Office guidelines.
Bryant said: “It is in everyone’s interest to combat illegal immigration but profiling is not acceptable and should not be happening under any circumstances. Operations need to be intelligence-led not based on ethnicity.”
There had been protests at railway stations from commuters that the UKBA was targeting people from ethnic minorities.
Mark Harper, the home office minister, defended the operations, saying the police had legitimate powers to search and arrest so long as it was based on intelligence and reasonable suspicion that they were offenders.
“I’m confident we have robust rules to make sure we’re not discriminating against people under the law. I’m confident we’ll be able to show to the EHRC’s satisfaction that we haven’t been discriminating.”
Anti-racism campaigner Doreen Lawrence has questioned the apparent focus on non-white people in the operations being carried out in and around train stations. The mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence told ITV1’s Daybreak programme on Friday: “I’m sure there are illegal immigrants from all countries, but why would you focus on people of colour? … I think racial profiling is coming into it.”
Asked if the spot checks were a cause for her to take up in her new role in the House of Lords, she replied: “Definitely so.”
Clearly idiots like Doreen Lawrence ( who btw seems to spout more racist things than most people) seem to think it is wrong to uphold the laws of the land. Strangely she never took the same view when her son was murdered. Come on Doreen, you either want the laws enforced, in which case you should be supporting operations such as this, or you don’t think laws should be upheld. If its the latter why have you campaigned for so long for those who murdered your son to be locked up.
Alternatively, it could just be that you are a hypocritical racist who sees any action taken to uphold laws against non whites as being racist. you complain that these raids targeted more non whites than whites. Well it may have escaped your notice that British people, (and those citizens of the EU who have the automatic right to be here) are predominantly white. It is more likely that those who are illegal immigrants, and the target of this operation are non white than white. That is not racism, it is a simple reflection of the facts about illegal immigration.
The same usual suspects are complaining that the government have been using advertising aimed at deterring illegal immigrants from entering or remaining in the UK. Apparently it is racist to tell those breaking the law to stop. I never heard Doreen Lawrence and co complaining that it was wrong to try to deter people from committing attacks like the one that
killed her son.
The comments of Nigel Farage that to carry out checks on people’s right to be in the UK is “not the British way” is laughable and shows how out of touch with reality he is. What does he want? Illegal immigrants to come forward voluntarily to be deported? Sorry Nigel, but do you think people who have broken the law to enter or remain in the UK are going to volunteer themselves to be deported? You’ve not really thought that one through have you? Must have been having one pint too many eh?
I would have more sympathy with the usual suspects complaining if it was about the manner of the Border Agency action, not the fact it happened. No matter what the colour of someone’s skin, they have the right to be treated with respect. That means being free from arbitrary arrest, not being free from being spoken to by the authorities.
I wonder why Doreen Lawrence, the Equality & Diversity Commission, the Trade Unions etc do not raise such complaints when those attending football matches are subject to far worse harassment from the powers that be. To be a male and attend a football match is putting yourself in a situation where you seemingly have no rights. Never mind being asked to produce documents to show you are allowed to be in the UK (or even that you have a football match ticket), the police use their powers to force law abiding football fans who have tickets for a game from the area without attending the game.
The illegal immigrants are breaking the law, the football fans are not. So Doreen and others why are you bleating about the authorities taking action against criminals, but not complaining about the police actions, under Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 against football fans who have not broken any laws? It couldn’t be because football fans are predominantly white whereas the illegal immigrants are predominantly non white (not exclusively though). I would hope this is not the reason as that would be an example of a racist approach and I’m sure Doreen Lawrence is not racist – or is she and the other usual suspects?
Instead it is left to the Football Supporters Federation to be the sole voice fighting for the rights of law abiding football fans.
Police admit unlawful use of section 27 on Stoke fan
Stoke City fan Lyndon Edwards, 38, has been awarded £2,750 in compensation following unlawful police action in Manchester last year. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) used section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act to round up more than 80 Stoke City fans prior to their club’s Premier League tie with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, November 15, 2008.
Even though Stoke’s fans had been well-behaved – the pub landlord made no complaints and has since invited them back – supporters were detained for up to four hours and forcibly transported by the police back to Stoke-on-Trent on coaches, missing the game.
Deprived of toilet facilities on the coach, Lyndon and his fellow supporters were instructed to urinate into cups, which spilled over the floor of the bus so that they had to sit with urine sloshing around their feet for the 40-mile journey back.
Stoke City fan Lyndon contacted the FSF to complain about his appalling treatment at the hands of the GMP.
As more and more cases of the police unfairly using section 27 came to light the FSF launched the Watching football is not a crime! campaign and teamed up with civil-rights organisation Liberty and took GMP’s use of section 27 to judicial review. GMP have conceded that the legislation was never intended to be used on large groups of people.
Its original purpose was to target individuals or small groups displaying drunken behaviour – something the police showed no evidence for in this case.
“I am very pleased that the GMP has conceded they were in the wrong and satisfied with the compensation awarded. Hopefully the forthcoming judicial review will have a positive outcome for football supporters too and prevent section 27 from being used in this manner again,” said Lyndon. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the FSF and Liberty for all of their hard work and support which has been absolutely vital to a satisfactory outcome.”
The case has huge implications for all football supporters across England and Wales. The FSF had heard of an increasing number of police forces using this illegal tactic to effectively impose football banning orders at will across entire counties.
In a remarkably similar case South Yorkshire Police has also agreed to compensate Plymouth Argyle fans unjustly served section 27 orders following their team’s visit to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, 6 December, 2008. The level of compensation is still being negotiated.
Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSF, said: “We are delighted that as a result of the FSF and Liberty Stoke fans who suffered this appalling treatment are now receiving financial compensation. Police need to think very carefully in future before ever using this legislation inappropriately on football supporters ever again.
“This is an important victory for football fans everywhere – not just those at Stoke City. We were of hearing more and more similar cases from fans across the country but since Lyndon’s case went to court these seem to have stopped.”
“I’d also like to thank Stoke City who offered to underwrite £20,000 of Lyndon’s legal costs, great credit should go to both Tony Scholes and Peter Coates at Stoke.”
The success of this case shows that football fans do not have to accept whatever unfair treatment is dished out – supporters can make their voices heard.
James Welch, legal director at Liberty, said: “This is yet another example of overly broad powers being used inappropriately. If you give the police powers that are not tightly defined, they are going to abuse them.
“Congratulations to the FSF for raising this important issue.”
Come to think of it Doreen Lawrence seemed not to have much to say about the 182 cyclists arrested last summer for taking part in the monthly Critical Mass bike ride that has been going for 15 years and has authority from the Supreme Court to take place. Those cyclists were not breaking the law but were held for up to 15 hours on buses without access to toilet facilities, denied their rights to legal advice, denied their legal right to have someone informed of their detention.
Critical Mass arrests: police charge three
Police confirm a 13-year-old was among 182 cyclists arrested amid monthly bike ride during Olympic opening ceremony
Critical Mass arrests: The operation is believed to be the UK’s largest mass detention since last summer’s riots. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters
Police have charged three people involved in a mass cycle procession in London during Friday’s Olympic ceremony. They confirmed that a 13-year-old was among the 182 cyclists who were arrested in what is believed to be the UK’s largest mass detention since last summer’s riots.
Some of those arrested have told the Guardian they were kettled and detained through the night in a windowless police “garage” and single-decker buses.
The operation by the Metropolitan police was aimed at halting about 200 cyclists on the monthly Critical Mass bike ride from travelling in and around the Olympic Route Network as Danny Boyle’s “Isles of Wonder” opening spectacle unfolded.
Transport police have confirmed that one officer used CS gas during the arrests. Those arrested were part of pedal bike procession that has traditionally taken place in the capital on the last Friday of the month for the past 18 years.
One 32-year-old electrician who did not want to be named said he was picked up by police, even though he was not part of the event.
He said he was simply riding his bike past the Critical Mass group when he was arrested near the Bow flyover and held overnight in Croydon in a windowless room with a bare concrete floor.
“I’d left my home at about 20.20 in east London. I literally got on my bike, rode around Stratford and just started riding up the road on my way to my friend’s house … I was then arrested.”
Another arrestee, a computer programmer for a prominent London university, who did not want to be named, said he was also in the Croydon police garage for more than four hours before he was processed.
“They [the police] say Critical Mass was a kind of protest against the Olympics. They’ve really made it into some kind of anti capitalist, horrible thing. Personally, I was on a bike ride with my girlfriend and friend and there were other cyclists around us. I wasn’t a part of anything. I couldn’t care less about the Olympics.”
Another arrested cyclist, who only wanted to be known as Henry, said as he waited two hours to be processed by the police he was beside a 13-year-old who had his hands handcuffed behind his back, along with others who had been picked up by police.
“I can honestly say I had absolutely zero intention of disrupting the Olympics – I really don’t think anyone did. It was about enjoying cycling, not hating the Olympics.”
A 26-year-old legal secretary said the pepper-spray incident happened near Blackfriars bridge earlier on in the cycle ride when there was a tussle between a police officer and some of the cyclists.
A number of hours afterwards he said police “brought three single-decker buses in. We had a photo taken with us and our bike … the bikes were then taken away and we were handcuffed and loaded on to a bus.”
He said he was held in a cell overnight and not released until noon the next day.
A 22-year-old language teacher said officers had started to cut the route off as he passed over the Bow flyover.
“People stopped and looked confused for a brief moment outside the Tesco Express and then the police very quickly formed a kettle around us. That lasted around two to three hours.”
He said after being taken to one police station in a bus he was then brought to Sutton in Croydon. “We got to the police station at about 1am or just after.”
He added that one person, who was desperate to use the toilet, urinated on the bus. The teacher said he had spent five hours in the cell and was released at 7am.
The Met confirmed several people were held on buses while waiting to be processed, but described the building as a “former transport garage”, which had been converted to use as a police custody suite.
“Due to the number of people who were arrested, these exceptional circumstances meant we used alternative methods of transport – people were taken to a number of different police stations across London and buses were used.”
They said 182 people were arrested and three were charged for various offences including assault. The rest they say were bailed, pending further enquires.
Bail conditions included not entering the Olympic borough of Newham on a bicycle, entering “any Olympic-only carriageway” or going within 100 metres of an Olympic venue.
One of those bailed told the Guardian that not entering Newham on a bike would mean abandoning cycling altogether for the duration of the Olympics as he lived on the border of the borough.
In a statement on Sunday police said: “Officers were aware that a monthly cycle procession was due to take place on 27 July and made several attempts to engage with riders to discuss their plans … Officers believe this may have included other individuals or groups not normally part of the monthly procession.
“As the procession had the potential to cause serious disruption to the life of the community, the Metropolitan Police Service applied conditions under section 12 of the Public Order Act.
“The participants in the procession were informed of these conditions.”
Police added that cyclists “continued to ride around the Olympic route network, despite numerous warnings, and officers took action to detain the cyclists”.
“People have a right to protest and it is an incredibly important part of our democracy … What people do not have the right to do is to hold a protest that stops other people from exercising their own rights to go about their business – that means athletes who have trained for years for their chance in a lifetime to compete, millions of ticketholders from seeing the world’s greatest sporting event, and everyone else in London who wants to get around.”
Do you remember hearing Doreen Lawrence complaining about the police action then? Funnily enough she was too busy brown nosing the powers that be and carrying the flag at the Olympic opening ceremony why these arrests took place. Her silence on the issue since then is deafening. It couldn’t be because those arrested carrying out a lawful and peaceful bike ride were white could it?
Racism? Ask yourself who is a racist?