Vulnerable migrant victims of crime need help to report incidents, investigation finds

Published on 28 January 2021
Concerns raised about effect of sharing immigration information between police and the Home Office
Brief
2 mins read
Police vehicle and officers in background

A joint investigation by HMICFRS, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the College of Policing has concluded that immediate action is needed to ensure that vulnerable migrant victims of crime can confidently report to the police.

It follows a super-complaint, submitted by Liberty and Southall Black Sisters, about the practice of the police sharing victims’ immigration information with the Home Office.

The investigation raises concerns about the effect that sharing immigration information between the police and the Home Office has on victims of crime with unsettled immigration status.

The investigation's report – published following a super-complaint on policing and immigration status – found that the current system causes significant harm to the public interest.

Its recommendations include:

  • Where officers only have concerns or doubts about a domestic abuse victim’s immigration status, they should immediately stop sharing information on those victims with Immigration Enforcement.
  • The Home Office should review the relevant legal framework and policy to establish sound and fair priorities regarding migrant victims of crime and migrant witnesses to crime who have insecure or uncertain immigration status.
  • The Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) should develop a safeguarding protocol about the police approach to migrant victims and witnesses of crime.
  • The police should establish safe reporting pathways for all migrant victims and witnesses to crime.