(2) how many (a) officials in his Department and (b) police officers were involved in the operation of dawn raids on asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in (i) 1998, (ii) 1999, (iii) 2005 and (iv) 2006; and at which local Immigration and Nationality Directorate offices these raids were organised;
(3) what representations he has received from (a) the Police Federation and (b) the Association of Chief Police Officers on the use of police in dawn raids on asylum seekers;
(4) under whose command police officers in dawn raids on asylum seekers are acting; and what their role is during such raids.
The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) does not conduct ‘raids’ against asylum seekers. Officers undertake operational visits to detain and remove persons who no longer have the right to remain in the UK and do so in line with operational policy and guidance. IND is unable to supply the level of detailed information requested as to do so would have significant resource implications and is available only at disproportionate cost. Information about each immigration enforcement operation involving police officers has been kept since 2005 and therefore data on operations supported by the police in 1998 and 1999 are not available. In 2005 and 2006 there were 8,865 and 13,953 police supported operations respectively, some of which will have been undertaken early in the morning for operational reasons. I can confirm that all Police Operational Support Unit (POSU) costs, which include overtime for all operations, are paid by IND.
In 2001 the Home Office asked the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) for the support of the police service to assist with the arrest of immigration offenders (including unsuccessful asylum seekers). ACPO, on behalf of the police service, agreed to this request. There have been no known representations received from the police federation on the use of the police service to assist with enforcement operations.
Police officers act at the request of IND with whom operational tasking generally rests. The police role is to enter, secure, search premises, detain suspects and maintain a safe environment.
(2) whether officials qualified in child care are required to be present when dawn raids are undertaken on asylum seekers where children are likely to be present;
(3) whether dawn raids to detain failed asylum seekers are authorised at ministerial level;
(4) whether neighbours of asylum seekers detained in dawn raids are offered any explanation of the action being taken; and whether they are given an opportunity to express their views on such raids;
(5) what opportunities asylum seekers detained during dawn raids are offered to consult (a) their legal advisers and (b) their Member of Parliament (i) at the point of detention, (ii) in transit and (iii) at a detention centre.
The immigration and nationality directorate (IND) does not conduct ‘raids’ against asylum seekers. Officers undertake operational visits to detain and remove persons who no longer have the right to remain in the UK and do so in line with operational policy and guidance.
Immigration officers are instructed, in chapter 58 of the Operational Enforcement Manual (OEM), available on the IND website, to book an interpreter if required when planning a family detention visit.
The IND Family Removals Policy notice (EPU 2/06), available on the IND website, requires that there must be a minimum of one officer trained in emergency life saving when it is expected that children will be present during any operation to detain a family. IND’s policy and practice is to deploy immigration officers who have been trained in working with families and children. Such officers are based in every office which plans and carries out family detention visits. To strengthen these arrangements, IND has been conducting a review of family removal procedures, the report of which is to be published shortly. One of the aims of that review has been to identify how the welfare of the children can be properly taken into account.
Chapter 46 of the OEM sets out the levels of authority of enforcement visits.
If neighbours have any questions or concerns about an enforcement visit at the time it is taking place, this will be dealt with by the officer in charge (OIC) so long as it is safe to do so and does not unduly delay proceedings.
In chapter 58 of the OEM, immigration officers are instructed to inform families that they can contact a legal representative once they are at the detention centre. As set out in the Removal Centre Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), detainees are able to make a phone call immediately on arrival at the removal centre free of charge. Thereafter they must have access to phones for at least 14 hours a day, including during normal active periods. It is a matter for detainees as to whether they wish to consult a legal adviser or their Member of Parliament. Detainees must be advised of their right to legal representation, and how they can obtain such representation, within 24 hours of their arrival at the centre.