Members of Parliament and human rights lawyers are calling on the Home Office to review how immigration officers carry out spot checks after data suggested that they were using racial profiling and stopping Britons. The Bureau, working with the media co-operative, The Bristol Cable, has obtained new Home Office data. The data shows that over 19,000 British citizens, out of a total of 102,552 people, were caught up in immigration checks over the last five years – nearly one in five. Human rights lawyers say that this high proportion of British citizens suggests that “the checks are led by racial profiling”. The Labour MP, Stella Creasy, who has previously raised the issue of raids in her own constituency, is calling on the Home Office to “urgently review” its practices and told the Bureau: “the blanket targeting of communities like mine is neither intelligent nor effective”. The data, covering January 2012 to January 2017, was obtained by the Bristol Cable and then analysed by the Bureau. The Home Office has always insisted that their officers do not challenge people on the basis of ethnicity, but on the grounds of “intelligence”. However, as nearly one in five of those questioned are British citizens, the human rights lawyers interviewed question that assumption. They stress that “by reason of those individuals being British, by definition, any intelligence relied on to spot check them must have been wholly flawed”. The data covers 11 of the largest cities in England, Wales and Scotland. It records the nationalities of people stopped by immigration officers in those cities. In London alone, some 8,002 British citizens were stopped. Most strikingly, nearly one in three of those stopped in Sheffield and Glasgow were British citizens.

Charles Boutaud, Adam Cantwell-Corn en Donato Paolo Mancini in Thousands of British citizens swept up in immigration spot checks (Thebureauinvestigates)

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