Dame Sara Thornton responds to review on Home Office and Police data sharing arrangements

15th December, 2021 5:10 pm

The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner Dame Sara Thornton has responded to publication of the Home Office Review of data sharing: migrant victims and witnesses of crime laid in Parliament today.

In December 2020, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services, the College of Policing and the Independent Office for Police Conduct published their investigative report Safe to share? in response to the super-complaint raised by Liberty and Southall Black Sisters regarding the treatment of victims of crime with insecure immigration status.

This investigation found that victims and witnesses of crime with insecure immigration status are fearful that if they report crimes to police, their information will be shared with the Home Office with enforcement action taken against them, and that the crimes they have reported will not be investigated. The report made a series of recommendations aimed at stakeholders across policing and the Home Office.

The review published by the Home Office today sets out their response primarily in relation to Recommendation 2, that the Home Office review the legal framework and policy underpinning the matters raised by the super-complaint and give consideration to a mechanism for establishing a firewall between the police and immigration enforcement for all migrant victims of crime with insecure immigration status. It concludes in announcing a Migrant Victims Protocol for migrant victims of crime that have been referred to immigration enforcement from the police.

Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, said:

“I welcome proposals for a Migrant Victims Protocol which will ensure that no immigration enforcement action will be taken against a victim of crime while their case is being investigated and prosecuted. It is good to see that there will be no time limit on this and that victims will be given advice about regularising their immigration status.

“There are many barriers which vulnerable victims face in reporting crimes and I am pleased that the review recognises the significance of support for victims. I will be working with Home Office colleagues to develop this protocol and ensure that victims can seek the protection that they need from the criminal justice system.”

Read the full Home Office review here.

Source: Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

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