News Walthamstow

TfL says ‘never again’ after Walthamstow Tube immigration raid

A controversial raid last month saw eight people arrested
By Victoria Munro

The raid took place outside Walthamstow Central Tube station (credit: James Cracknell)
The raid took place outside Walthamstow Central Tube station (credit: James Cracknell)

There will be no more immigration raids at Walthamstow Central Tube station after a controversial operation last month.

On 13th October, eight people were arrested after being stopped just outside the station during an early-morning raid by the Home Office and police.

Witnesses said they saw police stop Eastern European tradesmen to ask for their ID and how long they had been in the country, ignoring more smartly dressed pedestrians.

Many were angered by the raid, including local MP Stella Creasy, who tweeted at the time that it was “a waste of resources” and “deeply divisive”.

She later told the Echo: “‘Stopping people without prior knowledge of them to check their immigration status whilst travelling through a station is not only deeply discriminatory and divisive, its also a poor use of resources.

“The Home Office urgently need to come clean to Walthamstow residents on what basis they took over our local train station for this action, and why they chose not to tell our local police and TFL about their work either.”

Campaign group Waltham Forest Anti Raids Network reminded residents that officers “need a reason to suspect you’ve committed an offence before stopping you” and advised people not to give their details unless legally obligated.

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A spokesperson told the Echo: “The success of these types of raids hinges on people not knowing their rights or being uncertain of the legality of resisting officers.

“You don’t have to answer any questions or provide personal details – unless you’re under arrest, you can say ‘no comment’ and walk away.

“As a bystander, the most effective things you can do are: immediately make the person being questioned aware that they can walk away, film the officers (with consent of the person being questioned), and remind officers of the law.”

A TfL spokesperson has confirmed the operation on their property “was not authorised” and won’t be repeated.

They added: “We have had discussions with our policing partners to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

At the time, a Home Office spokesperson confirmed there were eight arrests.

They said: “The government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK.

“We continue to work with law enforcement agencies to tackle illegal migration in all its forms. Our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”

The Home Office was contacted on 5th November about the statement from TfL and has not responded.

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