(Poster by 1000 blackbirds)
If you see someone being stopped by immigration officers, or police on immigration grounds, and your legal status does not put you at risk, it is recommended that you:
– Immediately make the person aware that they do not have to answer questions & that they can leave
– If the person doubts you, advise them to ask the officer if it’s true – immigration officers are meant to tell people this themselves before stopping them
– Remind the officers of the law
– Film the incident, where possible asking the person stopped if that’s ok, or just film the officers involved. This may be useful in making a claim in the event of an unlawful stop or arrest.
– Record the lapel numbers of the officers involved
– Make other members of the public aware of what’s happening
– Get witnesses’ contact details if the stop leads to an arrest or the person wants to pursue it afterwards
– Attempt to pass on a phone number to the individual if you think the stop will lead to arrest. Possible useful numbers include Soas Detainee Support: 07438407570 or Bail for Immigration Detainees: 020 7456 9750
– Note that physically obstructing officers may put you at risk of arrest for obstruction (a minor offence).
If you want to refer to their guidance when speaking to Immigration Officers, everything can be found in the Home Office Enforcement Visits guidance (formerly, chapter 31 UKBA Operational Enforcement Manual).
A more comprehensive guide for supporters, in a handy leaflet format for printing and distribution, is available here. Note that some of the references (to UKBA, Chapter 31 guidance), are a little out of date, however the legal information remains the same.
Another leaflet which can be downloaded & printed (thanks Artists Fight Back)