Given the continuing focus on Border Force issues we wanted to assure you that our strident work within Immigration Enforcement continues and to bring you up to date with some developments and issues.
Attacks on Staff and Vehicles
In our last IE special we reported on the increase in attacks on IE staff.
There has been some progress in tackling this worrying issue including a successful “targeted vehicle” operation that resulted in the arrest and prosecution of persons engaged in criminal damage to an IE vehicle.
The department assures us that all attacks on IE staff will be investigated thoroughly and where possible prosecution will be pursued.
We are aware of a particularly violent attack on staff in West Yorkshire recently and we are working with the employer both to support staff affected and to explore further measures to improve the safety of members going forward.
The department also assure us that if, in the course of their duties, IE staff have cause to appropriately and safely arrest subjects engaged in attacks against staff, they will fully support them in this action. IE staff have relevant powers of arrest and should not feel inhibited from exercising them safely.
We urge IE staff to report all incidents; even you perceive them to be slight, it builds up an important picture for both intelligence and trends.
We have noticed an increase in the targeting of operational BME staff for verbal abuse; for example things like “You’re a traitor to your kind!” or “How can you do this your own people?” etc. We urge BME and indeed all staff to not only ensure they report this unacceptable behaviour but to remember that the ISU and the department are committed to helping staff gain access to support if they suffer from the psychological results of these very directed verbal attacks.
Entering and leaving the building
There have also been reports of IE staff encountering irate subjects at staff entrances which is an intensely worrying new development. Again this should always be reported immediately. This is an emerging trend and we need to ensure it is monitored and staff suitably protected.
Support for staff
We would remind staff that Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), and counselling via the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) are available with the department also remaining committed to Trauma Risk Management (TRiM).
Contact with Branches
I have been in contact with our colleagues in Northern Ireland to discuss specific issues there and I am looking towards paying them a visit in the near future.
I am aware that it has proved difficult staying in touch with all the IE regions and with that in mind I am considering possibly regenerating the IE Committee (please let me know if you are interested) and also to look towards visiting more of you.
Aside from the above, we remain closely involved in consultation with the department as regards the movement/redeployment of IE staff and continually look to robustly negotiate the best possible options for our membership.
On a final note, we enjoyed a good working relationship with former IE Director General Mandie Campbell and we wish her all the best in her new position whilst looking forward to working with the new IE DG Hugh Ind to ensure the best possible standards and working conditions for our IE membership.
John Marc Edun – ISU NEC Enforcement Lead