Today, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) announced a new policy which highlights the importance of safe reporting for migrant victims of crime.
Step Up Migrant Women campaign welcomes these initial steps from the NPCC, but continues to advocate to end all data-sharing practices between crucial victim support services and the Home Office altogether.
As highlighted in The Guardian article, The policy is titled “information exchange regarding victims of crime with no leave to remain” mentions these changes in Police forces nationally:
- Where a person reporting crime is also identified, potentially, as a person without leave to remain or to enter in the UK, the fundamental principle must be for the police to first and foremost treat them as a victim
- Include a ban on officers checking the Police national computer (PNC) solely to see if someone has leave to remain in the UK
- Recognition that Operation Nexus was blurring the line of frontline police who were seeing victims with insecure immigration status as ‘criminals to be deported’
However, the NPCC also issued a statement saying that there will still contact the home office on individual cases, without carrying out immigration enforcement themselves.
“If an officer becomes aware that a victim of crime is suspected of being an illegal immigrant it is right that they should raise this with immigration enforcement officers and not take any immigration enforcement action themselves. Throughout the police should treat them as a victim of crime”
Step Up Migrant Women, as a campaign led by BME specialist services in the women’s sector, understands how our communities lack trust towards the police due to discriminatory practices and the implementation of ‘hostile environment’ policies. We must ensure all data-sharing stops as it is fundamental to protect every migrant woman who reports abuse and exploitation. It is crucial that data from victims are not shared for immigration enforcement at any stage.
See below: more than 60% of police forces share victims’ data with the Home Office.