Socialist Worker

Tories' racist raids - more shocking details of the plans for Operation Centurion

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2405

The government’s planned crackdown on undocumented workers is set to go ahead from Monday morning of next week. Operation Centurion was exclusively revealed in this week’s Socialist Worker.

UK Borders Agency and the Home Office want it to be a spectacular success, backed by media images of “immigration offenders” being led away in handcuffs.

The operation has been planned over months to happen just after the elections. Its aim is to give the Tory government a boost as being hard on immigration after the success of Ukip.

Socialist Worker has had a further view of the document listing potential targets. Dripping with callousness and cynicism, it lists potential firms to be targeted but not the definite dates.

Many entries talk about working with management against workers without papers. One states, “FIOs (Field Intelligence Officers) are liaising with cleaning companies with a view to arrests by appointment being made”.

Another, part of Operation Abate, a joint project with Sussex Police, will be “looking into trafficking involving LKA (Sri Lankan) Nationals.”

Targets

When trying to justify their crackdowns, officials claim they want to help people who have been trafficked. But here these people are presented not as victims—just as another target to bump up deportation figures.

The document was circulated to build up potential collaboration between departments and agencies. The version Socialist Worker has seen is just over eight pages long.

In the South West Region it notes, “Multi agency approach on somewhere between 4 to 7 linked restaurants in the Wiltshire area depending on Ops resources.”

The level of detail varies between regions. One full entry in the South East region reads:

“Agriculture: FIO’s (Field Immigration Officers) and arrest team will visit 2 farms based in North Kent and Canterbury to look at current workforce, offer employer advice and if offenders identified these will be arrested.”

The entry for South Central region says of a named supplier of staff to Care Homes in Hampshire, “There is a lot of intel surrounding this company which has been accumulated over many years. FIO is sifting through it and will try to develop in time for Op Centurion. This may involve a possible vehicle stop as the workers are allegedly picked up and dropped off at the care homes.”

Not all the raids are on marginal workplaces.

Skyscraper

In central London: “100 employees based across two floors in a prominent skyscraper restaurant in the city being investigated and developed for an enforcement visit with immigration offenders likely to be in double figures at least.”

In the City it also notes, “Suspected repeat illegal working at a blue chip company is being investigated with a view to referring it to CFI (Criminal and Financial Investigation) as appropriate.”

As for working with other agencies, it notes, “Transport Agreement made with TfL (Transport for London) for joint working across boroughs (amount to be confirmed) with TfL compliance officers.”

This suggests that immigration raids will be combined with other activities such as ticket inspections, something that has often happened in the past.

In Wales it notes it will raid laundries, “Alleged to be ERI (Eritrean) nationals working (not the best nationality for us but a new sector nonetheless)”.

However the government spins it, hunting down undocumented workers is an attack on the most vulnerable in society. It is part of a concerted attempt to deflect poor workers’ anger against each other, instead of against the Tories’ savage austerity agenda.

The full documents contain details of a number of targeted individuals which would make them more vulnerable if they were freely available online. We will not publish details that could lead to such people being victimised.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.