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Home Office rejects recommendation to equip immigration officers with bodycams

The Home Office has rejected a recommendation from a police watchdog to equip immigration officers with bodycams during immigration raids.

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    Home Office will not equip immigration officers with bodycams

    The Home Office has rejected a recommendation made by a police watchdog to equip immigration officers with bodycams after the death of a young man during an immigration raid.

    Mustafa Dawood was just 23 when he suffered fatal head injuries after Immigration Enforcement raised a car wash in Newport, South Wales in June 2018. An inquest in November 2021 found that the immigration officer’s actions could have contributed to his death.

    An investigation into his death by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in 2019 found that there had only been a “short, generic” risk assessment and that this, paired with the fact that there were only four officers in attendance, was “insufficient” for the scale of the site and associated risks.

    The report pointed out that none of the officers had body-worn video cameras and their radio communications weren’t recorded.

    The IOPC made a series of recommendations that included the use of body-worn video cameras and recording radio transmissions so that they could capture the “best possible evidence of the sequence of events” during enforcement visits.

    home office

    Home Office response to the recommendations

    Initially, the Home Office accepted all of the recommendations made by the IOPC. However, they have now confirmed that the recommendations in relation to body cams have been rejected.

    When asked why this decision was made a spokesperson for the Home Office said:

    “The equipment our Immigration Enforcement officers carry remains under constant review.”

    A Home Office spokesperson also said that four of the IOPC’s recommendations had already been implemented, this included the recommendation to introduce tailored risk assessments and better contingency planning and safeguarding and that another recommendation to implement post-incident procedures was still in progress.

    They also said they had addressed the recommendations from the coroner in relation to officer training and that the resulting changes would be rolled out from April.

    In reference to the death of Mustafa Dawood they said: “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts and condolences remain with the family and friends of Mr Dawood.”

    Criticism of the Home Office’s response

    The Home Office’s rejection of the recommendation for body cams has been met with criticism.

    Mark Seymour, project manager at charity The Gap Wales, who knew Mr Dawood, said it was “astonishing” that the Home Office was not agreeing to implement the recommendation.

    Speaking about Mustafa’s death and the Home Office’s response, he said:

    “We suffered a terrible loss when our friend Mustafa died. I was with him the night before. He was a popular and friendly young man who is still much missed in the local community…These recommendations were made by an independent body at cost to the taxpayer to ensure that this does not happen again. How many more tragic deaths must we see before the Home Office implement them?”

    Catrin Evans, IOPC director for Wales, also said that the organisation had “stressed the importance” of a visual and audio record of immigration enforcement visits during a meeting with the Home Office.

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