As Operation Nexus, which checks the personal details of people arrested by the police against UKBA databases, is rolled out nationally, important questions and concerns are raised by migrant support groups about the way the initiative is carried out and presented to the public.
Operation Nexus was launched last September (under the name Operation Terminus) and, in principle, is targeting foreign national criminals. Apparently there are four strands of work, including cross checking forensic data with UKBA, proactive targeting high-harm offenders and international data –sharing. The strand that concerns us most, however, is the custody suites project. This involved initially embedding UKBA staff in London’s five busiest police custody suites. The initiative has been rolled out pan-London to 22 custody suites and there are plans to roll it out nationally in the next few months.
This initiative means that every single person arrested in London (no matter how serious the offence, or whether there is a subsequent charge) has their personal details (including fingerprints) checked against a UKBA database. Even though it was initially announced that UKBA staff would be embedded in all custody suites it has now been confirmed that not all suites have UKBA staff in them and even those that have them are only staffed during some hours of the day. In effect, this means that police staff (in some cases community support officers) are running immigration checks on people arrested.
Read full briefing here.
25 February 2013