Border Force staff report high levels of discrimination

Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

One in five immigration enforcement employees at the Home Office “personally experienced discrimination at work”, according to an internal survey.

The Border Force and Immigration Enforcement agency, which looks after 140 of the UK and western Europe’s custom ports, scored worst out of all government agencies and departments in the survey.

Furthermore, four in 10 employees did not agree that the agency was committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Responding to the findings, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We value all of our staff who work tirelessly to serve the public and keep them safe, and their wellbeing is our priority.”

The department was also criticised in a parliamentary report in March this year, which found systemic failures in its response to those affected by the Windrush scandal – where many long-term UK residents without adequate paperwork suffered issues with employment and benefits and faced hardship as a result.

The internal survey measures staff opinion in about 100 public agencies, covering 300,000 employees.

Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich Matthew Pennycook, said: “It is deeply alarming that more than one in five immigration staff have personally witnessed discrimination and harassment at work during the course of the last year.

If this is what those who work in these sensitive agencies routinely experience, what chance is there for the often vulnerable people they are employed to serve.

“Ministers must act not only to protect those who work in these sensitive agencies but to fundamentally overhaul our immigration system so those using it can have confidence that it is effective, humane and just.”

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