UKBA Immigration Officers At Kensal Green Tube Accused Of Racial Profiling And Heavy-Handedness

Did officers use racial profiling for their searches?
Did officers use racial profiling for their searches?

Immigration officers have been accused of racial profiling and heavy-handed tactics during visa checks at a London tube station.

Four "burly men" in UK Border Agency (UKBA) stab vests stopped people at Kensal Green tube this week asking people to prove their residency status.

A number of people claim the officers were only stopping non-white individuals and when questioned about the operation they became aggressive.

Matt Kelcher, writing in the New Statesmen, said: "I asked them what they were doing and was told it was a random check of identity documents to find illegal immigrants.

"They didn’t seem interested in me and I walked straight through, but the two Asian women who entered the station after me were stopped, taken to one side and questioned."

Another commuter said the officers were "heavy-handed" and "frightening".

Phil O’Shea told the Kilburn Times: "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’."

The Home Office said in a statement: "We make no apology for enforcing our immigration laws and our officers carry out hundreds of operations every year around London. Where we find people who are in the UK illegally we will seek to remove them."

"We take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour from our officers very seriously and operate a comprehensive complaints and investigation process for where detainees or members of the public believe they have been mistreated."

The Kensal Green area was subject to the so-called 'racist van' this week, a mobile billboard telling illegal immigrants to go home or face arrest.

Although the pilot trial has stopped there are plans to roll it out across the country.

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