Brent MP demands investigation into anti-immigration operations in the borough
PUBLISHED: 11:55 02 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:07 02 August 2013
A Brent MP has written to the Home Secretary demanding an investigation into why the borough has been the focus of several anti-immigration operations.
Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, has contacted Theresa May in response to spot-checks which took place in Kensal Green station and Cricklewood this week.
The borough was also targeted by the Home Office’s controversial campaign where a van telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’ was driven through the streets.
Mr Gardiner said he demanded an investigation into the checks which he said violated “fundamental freedoms”.
In his letter he wrote: “We do not yet live in a society where the police or any other officers of the law are entitled to detain people without reasonable justification and demand their papers.
“The actions of your department would however appear to be hastening us in that direction.”
A total of six people were arrested in the two operations which took place on Tuesday at Kensal Green station and the following day in Chichele Road, Cricklewood.
However, according to several witnesses the officers at the Kensal Green station were aggressive, intimidating and were specifically targeting non-white individuals.
Kensal Rise resident Phil O’Shea told the Times he was threatened with arrest when he asked what was going on.
He said: “I thought the behaviour of the immigration officers was heavy-handed and frightening. They appeared to be stopping and questioning every non-white person, many of whom were clearly ordinary Kensal Green residents going to work.
“When I queried what was going on I was threatened with arrest for obstruction and was told to ‘crack on’”
Cllr Mohammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said the operations could divide the borough’s diverse community.
He added: “This just shows that the government does not have faith in its own system of border controls and is trying to pin the blame elsewhere.”
Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, echoed Cllr Butt’s concerns, she said: This deeply divisive form of politics will create tension and mistrust towards anyone who looks and sounds foreign.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We make no apology for enforcing our immigration laws and our officers carry out hundreds of operations like this every year around London. Where we find people who are in the UK illegally we will seek to remove them.”
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