Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Nastiness (part 3 of many) KensalNacht

The Independent Reports:

Home Office officials have conducted a series of “racist and intimidatory” spot checks to search for illegal immigrants in the wake of the Government’s “go home or face arrest” campaign.

Officers wearing stab vests have conducted random stop-and-check operations near stations in the London suburbs of Walthamstow, Kensal Green, Stratford and Cricklewood over the past three days,. …

Onlookers described their shock at the operations, with one member of the public saying it was akin to “Nazi Germany”. The Labour MP Barry Gardiner has now written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, demanding an investigation into the checks which he said violated “fundamental freedoms”. The raids come just a few months after Ms May took direct responsibility for immigration from the disbanded UK Border Agency.

“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,” Mr Gardiner wrote. “The actions of your department would however appear to be hastening us in that direction.”

Witnesses who saw the operations in London claimed the officers stopped only non-white individuals, and in Kensal Green said that when questioned, the immigration officials became aggressive.

Independent Website 1 August 2013 Exclusive: The new stop-and-search – spot checks near stations in hunt for illegal immigrants 

Why am I not surprised?

The person who noted that the Conservative Party was called the “nasty party” seems determined to make it live down to its name.  They probably believe that the only way to see off UKIP (and presumably EDL, BNP etc.) is to descend to their level. I think she may have over-shot.

I do not like the politicisation of the forces of law and order, I do not like my local police dressing like bovver boys going to a riot. But this is “officials” from yet another agency on the streets in intimidating uniforms – black shirts, stab vests etc. My preference is that if such operations must happen they should be supervised by the police and it should be the police that detain anyone, not some immigration enforcers on a day out of the office.

I still hold out some hope that the official force of law and order (the police) are moderately well-trained and at least aware when they are overstepping the mark. But when a society starts to have “auxiliaries” (whether they are “Specials”, paramilitaries, or “civil enforcement officers”) you start to create a “them and us” attitude. The Police should maintain the “Queen’s Peace” (even if PCCs claim otherwise); these “officials” seem to be maintaining “May’s Peace”.

The fact that these stop and search operations are reportedly discriminating on the basis of colour or race just highlights the dangers.

“… it leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth,” he [the Brent Council leader]said. “These so-called spot checks are not only intimidating but they are also racist and divisive. It appears from speaking to people who witnessed what happened in Kensal Green that it was only black and Asian-looking people who were asked to prove their identity. What about the white Australians and New Zealanders who may have overstayed their visas?”
ibid

If all this is meant to make immigrants (legal or illegal) feel uncomfortable, they should remember that it makes a lot of non-migrants feel uncomfortable. I want to pass “without let or hindrance”, I do not want to see fellow citizens being ill-treated, I do not want to fear similar treatment (I have done nothing wrong, but I appear to have something to fear), and I do not want to feel ashamed of my county.

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