The second in our series of personal accounts of people who’ve stood up to the officers. We think it’s important that people share their stories, to give courage and solidarity to others, and to show that you don’t need to be an ‘Activist’, a legal eagle, or a big tough guy to stand up to them. If you confront a raid and would like to share your story, please write a short account and we will publish it anonymously (unless otherwise stated).
At about half 7 on Thursday evening, saw a guy coming out of the big tesco on Morning Lane wearing full navy blue – his shirt had unmarked epaulettes so I thought he might be from immigration. He walked towards 3 immigration enforcement vans that were parked together in the car park. A group of them were clustered around the vans, most of them also in unmarked epaulettes.
As I walked past I caught the eye of one of them who I recognised from the other day – she waved over and said ‘hi Mary’ and so did the others. She and another guy came over for a chat. The guy was wearing full police style protection vest and badge. I mentioned this and he said “you know, work”. When I asked where they were going he said they were finished and going home for the day. I asked if they had a warrant for the raids today and he said yes, then launched into a massive rant.
“We just carry out the law, and the law isn’t there for us to question. You voted in the election, and you reap what you sow. I don’t vote in elections because whoever the government is, I just have to carry out what they say”. He talked for a long time – he said that his job is to protect people like me, just like the police. “I’m paid with taxpayers money, and if I don’t do my job you’ll be complaining. It’s like the police – you might hate the police but if somebody hurts you, who’s the first people you’re gonna go to?”
He talked for a while longer, saying that it’s written in the bible and the scripture of every religion that all people are equal. I asked if he meant all people with a British passport and he said “it’s not about the British passport. You’re just on one track but we have to think not just about ourselves and our lives but about everyone”. It didn’t make much sense to me to be honest but he continued in that vein for a while, at least a minute and a half. I said we were probably never going to agree and he said that’s the best thing about Britain, you’re allowed to disagree. Then we said goodbye and they left, I didn’t see where to.