GPS tagging of migrants seems to contradict Home Office steerage | Immigration and asylum

The Home Office seems to have contradicted its personal steerage on GPS tagging, which prioritised “very high harm offenders”, after it introduced the gadgets can be used on asylum seekers arriving within the UK.

An 86-page steerage doc titled “Immigration Bail” was revealed on 31 January 2022. It contains a big part concerning the GPS tagging of migrants and doesn’t point out asylum seekers who haven’t dedicated crimes as a precedence group for GPS tagging.

It states that the tags are probably for use “where a person poses a high risk of harm to the public on the basis of criminality and/or in cases concerning national security”.

It provides: “There will be fewer devices available than the number of individuals subject to the duty. As a result, there will be a need to regulate the use of the devices.”

The January steerage additionally sounds a be aware of warning about tagging individuals with psychological or bodily well being issues and people who declare to be survivors of torture or trafficking. While that group won’t be robotically excluded from tagging, the problems ought to be thought-about earlier than a call is made.

The intention of latest steerage introduced by the Home Office on 15 June to use GPS tags to asylum seekers who arrive in small boats or in lorries in a 12-month pilot scheme is to discourage them from absconding.

However, a freedom of knowledge request obtained by Brian Dikoff of Migrants Organise revealed that absconding charges of these launched from immigration detention are extraordinarily low – 3% in 2019 and 1% in 2020.

There have been authorized challenges to the lawfulness of GPS tagging by the Home Office even earlier than the newest announcement final week.

Janet Farrell of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, who has issued proceedings within the excessive courtroom, mentioned: “The way the Home Office is using GPS as a condition of immigration bail means our clients are subject to 24/7 surveillance and data collection on all their movements, on an indefinite basis. There are serious concerns about the legality of this intrusive policy that need to be tested in the courts.”

Rudy Schulkind, analysis and coverage supervisor on the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees, mentioned: “This is a thoroughly dehumanising policy designed to ensure that certain people can never be allowed to enjoy a moment of peace, dignity or community. With rates of absconding so low, it is designed to solve a problem that does not exist. We urge the government to rethink this atrocious policy.”

The organisation Privacy International has additionally expressed considerations concerning the coverage. Campaigners describe GPS tagging as “a highly punitive surveillance measure”.

A Home Office spokesperson mentioned: “The government will not be deterred as we plan for the next flight to Rwanda. We will keep as many people in detention as the law allows, but where a court orders that an individual due to be on Tuesday’s flight should be released, we will tag them where appropriate.”

Home Office sources mentioned that these posing a excessive threat of hurt to the general public would proceed to be tagged, that medical points and torture can be considered earlier than making use of tags to asylum seekers, and that it could be for judges to determine whether or not a tag shall be a part of a person’s bail necessities if they will be launched from immigration detention the place the vast majority of these issued with notices of intent or removing instructions for Tuesday’s cancelled Rwanda flight stay.

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