Home Office defends immigration checks on Tooting fast food drivers

·2-min read
 (Met police)
(Met police)

The Home Office has stood by its decision to carry out immigration checks on fast food delivery drivers despite accusations of racial profiling.

Within 90 minutes on Tuesday, officers from Met police stopped 48 bikes in Tooting, south London, and arrested two people for immigration offences.

It comes just days after hundreds of protestors in Glasgow blocked an immigration enforcement van.

Met Police told the Evening Standard officers were carrying out a road safety policing operation in Tooting on Tuesday following concerns of dangerous and anti-social moped driving.

However, Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan condemned the Met for “stopping fast food delivery drivers and checking immigration status under the guise of ‘Covid compliance’.”

Speaking on Twitter, she added: “Covid compliance is crucial to stop the spread, but it doesn’t explain why Immigration Enforcement were in attendance. This looks like racial profiling.”

Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-KhanGetty Images
Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-KhanGetty Images

Dr Allin-Khan also expressed concern that the move “may amount to indirect discrimination due to its disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups” under the Equalities Act 2010.

She added that “Tooting is a welcoming place” and hit out at the Met for the “celebratory nature” of its news tweet which she said is not in keeping with local values.

The Home Office said the operation was carried out in relation to “suspected immigration offences.”

A spokesperson said: “It is completely false to claim that any immigration activity is conducted under false pretenses. All operational activity is intelligence led.

“The operation in Tooting was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and two individuals were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.

“The Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”

Watch: 6,000 migrants in desperate swim from Morocco to Spain

The two people arrested on suspicion of immigration offences are understood to be of Moroccan and Indian nationality.

A Met Police spokesperson said: “Following community concerns about dangerous and anti-social driving of mopeds, officers carried out a road safety policing operation in Tooting on Tuesday, 18 May. This was not a Covid compliance operation but one of engagement and high visibility.

“Officers from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command stopped a number of motorcycles to check driving licences, insurance documents and to ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicles. Where appropriate, advice regarding road safety was given.

“The objective of the operation was in response to community concerns about the dangerous and anti-social driving of mopeds.”

In addition to the immigration offences, two riders were reported for driving without a licence and one man was found to have a number plate which did not conform to regulations. 

The Evening Standard has contacted Dr Allin-Khan for comment.

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