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26 June 2018

PCS union calls for end to immigration arrest number pressures

Following reports that asylum decisions were being undermined by unsustainable work pressures, we are now learning that immigration enforcement is driven by a culture of informal competition over arrest numbers.

According to The Guardian, “immigration officers are being encouraged to compete to arrest the highest number of suspected illegal migrants and can be rewarded with chocolate cake or a box of Roses.”

The PCS union has come forward with details of “names and occasionally the photographs of the most successful officers are fixed to the wall of their offices by managers, in an echo of an employee of the month award.”

The union has called the practice “grotesque.” The revelation is embarrassing for the Home Office at a time when Windrush has exposed the negative consequences of immigration removal targets, leading to abusive practices such as the detention/deportation of crime or trafficking victims, or . 

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said he was “shocked” to hear from members about the incentives.He said:

The pressures on staff in the Home Office and those working in immigration in particular has been intolerable, with people being moved from pillar to post because of staff shortages. 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.