Don’t re­port il­le­gal im­mi­grants if they’re crime vic­tims, po­lice told

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Charles Hy­mas Home Af­fairs ed­i­tor

PO­LICE of­fi­cers have been told not to take ac­tion against il­le­gal im­mi­grants if they are vic­tims of crime.

Po­lice chiefs be­lieve fears of be­ing iden­ti­fied as an il­le­gal im­mi­grant could de­ter vic­tims from com­ing for­ward, and have is­sued guid­ance to of­fi­cers dis­cour­ag­ing them from au­to­mat­i­cally alert­ing the de­por­ta­tion au­thor­i­ties.

The guid­ance from the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil (NPCC) came amid “height­ened in­ter­est” fol­low­ing the Win­drush scan­dal.

The ad­vice also bans of­fi­cers from check­ing the po­lice na­tional com­puter solely to see if a per­son has leave to re­main in the UK.

It states that where a per­son re­port­ing a crime is also iden­ti­fied as pos­si­bly be­ing a per­son with­out leave to re­main or to en­ter the UK, the “fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple” must be to “first and fore­most” treat them as a vic­tim.

How­ever, if, dur­ing the in­quiry, it be­came ap­par­ent that the vic­tim was il­le­gally in Bri­tain, of­fi­cers could “at the ap­pro­pri­ate junc­ture” alert im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment.

The pol­icy has been drawn up af­ter po­lice faced crit­i­cism for shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about crime vic­tims with im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties.

In May, it emerged that more than half of forces re­ferred vic­tims and wit­nesses to the Home Of­fice for im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment.

The pa­per said: “This is­sue is of height­ened in­ter­est post-win­drush, with po­lice forces re­ceiv­ing FOI (Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion) inquiries re­gard­ing their in­for­ma­tion ex­change with Im­mi­gra­tion En­force­ment which high­light the po­ten­tially in­con­sis­tent re­sponse.”

Shaun Sawyer, the chief con­sta­ble of Devon and Corn­wall and NPCC lead on im­mi­gra­tion crime, said lo­cal forces were now bring­ing poli­cies into line with the guid­ance: “When some­one re­ports a crime, po­lice will al­ways, first and fore­most, treat them as a vic­tim.”

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