September 21 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
A number of people have been arrested in an immigration swoop in Ilford described by a charity worker as “racial profiling”.
Police targeted men on the corner of Francis Road and High Road just after 8am.
The officers were acting as part of illegal immigration crackdown Operation Centurion, according to the chief executive of Ramfel (The Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London), Rita Chadha, who was at the scene.
Ms Chadha, who has become a spokesman for the rights of immigrants, heavily criticised the operation.
She said: “They have been very heavy handed and have approached people randomly - it’s racial profiling.”
She believes that the police have no prior evidence that those arrested were in the country illegally.
It is believed that the immigration officers were targeting people who wait on the street to be collected in vans to work illegally as seen in previous operations.
The illegal workers are driven to work on sites all over the country and are sometimes paid as little as £1 per hour.
Ms Chadha added: “I think the home office is using this after the elections to show they are serious - it’s just macho posturing.”
Police and representatives of the Home Office are yet to respond to the Recorder’s request for comment.
A car fire on the A406 in Ilford caused hours of disruption on the roads this morning.