Up until now, it has been difficult to get a precise picture of the frequency of immigration raids across London. A previous FOI request found that an average of 33 enforcement ‘visits’ took place across London each week, but visits could also mean intelligence gathering trips as well as raids.
Now, journalist Philip Kleinfeld has obtained information via Freedom of Information Act requests that provides more detail on the frequency and location of raids in London. He found that:
- There were 19,853 raids — almost 11 a day — from 2010 to 2015.
- The number of raids has increased by 80% over the past five years.
- Immigration raids in London peaked in 2014 with 4,703 raids, up from 2,531 in 2010. In 2015 the number dropped by around 3% to 4,573 .
- The areas of London targeted the most are E15 (1,396 raids – Stratford, West Ham, Leyton, Hackney Wick), E6 (776 raids – East Ham, Upton Park, Barking, Beckton), E7 (637 raids – Forest Gate, Stratford, Leytonstone), SE1 (554 raids – parts of Lambeth and Southwark) and SE18 (540 raids – Woolwich & Plumstead).
He said, ‘The Home Office failed to disclose how many raids have been disrupted since 2010 but a representative from the Immigration Services Union told BBC’s File on 4 last year “that immigration enforcement jobs are disrupted to a greater or lesser extent pretty much every week.”
Activist groups have consistently criticised the impact immigration raids have on migrant communities across the capital. In its Statement of Principles the Anti-Raids Network says: “Immigration checks and raids on our homes, streets, communities and workplaces are violent attacks on us by the racist state. They can have extreme consequences, including lengthy periods of detention, deportation and, in some cases, death. Raids and checks need to be opposed wherever and however we can.”
It is notable that the number of raids dropped in a year that saw an increase in acts of resistance, from Peckham to Walworth, to Shadwell to New Cross, to the countless unreported acts of individual defiance. From five raids on East Street in the week leading up to the mass resistance of 21st June, to none at all on that street for the rest of the year and since.
Direct action works. Keep up the fight!
Breakdown of visits by boroughs: