Immigration officers win chocolates for most arrests, union says
Immigration officers are being encouraged to compete to arrest the highest number of suspected illegal migrants and can be rewarded with cake or chocolates, a trade union said.
Managers put the names and occasionally the photographs of the most successful officers on the wall of their offices, according to the PCS union.
Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the union, which represents many of the officers, is demanding the Home Office curtails the practice in the wake of the Windrush scandal. He said the schemes could be seen as evidence staff were still under pressure from the Home Office to apprehend suspects in significant numbers.
The government abandoned immigration removal targets seven weeks ago after the Guardian uncovered the Windrush scandal. Campaigners said the targets encouraged staff to pursue people seen as “low-hanging fruit”.
After the resignation of Amber Rudd as home secretary, her successor, Sajid Javid, claimed he had rejected Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policy and said he would pursue a “fairer, more compassionate system”.
Serwotka said: “Our members have been clear that they have been put under pressure to implement what have been racist policies for too long.
“We know that managers have presented cakes and chocolates to officers who detained the highest number of people – a way of trying to incentivise staff – but it is grotesque. We demand that the Home Office stops this practice.”
A Home Office spokesperson said the department did not recognise the claims of internal competition. “We do not intend to set targets for enforced removals or arrests, and there are no targets in the current year,” he said.
“Immigration Enforcement is an operational directorate responsible for enforcing immigration law. The conduct of the officers is of the utmost importance, and we are clear that they must act lawfully, professionally and treat people with dignity.”