Sharing data

The Tip Off


Back in Twenty Sixteen Semaj Arash had day job at the time I was working for a race equality charity but he always had an eye out for a story. The charity he was working for have been doing all kinds of research into the hostile environment an impact the government's immigration policy was having on various areas of life. Now, this was before the wind rush scandal broke said, it wasn't really much discussion going on about this. But Samir was interested in finding out more. At the end of two thousand sixteen. I started looking into data sharing agreements that been I. Think one that was nine about the time which was around the around healthcare data being shed with the heightened office. Then around the same time that was issue around education data. So the the people census essentially kind of being being shed potentially being used to target families because they had enrolled, they're in school. So we knew of some official organizations sharing information with. Authorities. But what about the please he wanted. So. I had a theory which was that. I wanted if victims of crime would be caught up in in this system as well. Man You police would work with immigration officials when handling the perpetrators of crime he wondered if the same was true for those who were victims of criminal acts, this was too big a topic to look into on his own after all he was working full-time in his day job. He needed help any new just who to contact. I'm Natalie blamer relaunch journalist. Nazli was working politics, dot co DOT UK and the powerful report about immigration authorities targeting people who are homeless. She hadn't spoken to Samir before, but his was a name she recognized. Followed the twitter and I think we've had a few interactions on twitter and it was shortly after I published The holiness story that he contacted me and said I'm looking into data share in between different organizations in the Home Office would like to. Do that with me and he explained he was he had two full time job and he was quite limited in how much she could do during the day. and. It was. It was it sounded really interested in it was. You know the areas that I was interested in. And so I agree very quickly and so Nutley and submit decided to start working together sharing tips divvying up the workload. We've naturally making calls during working hours and submitted digging away the data when he could we have a very good workmanship we've actually continued to work together since then really. Because I think we have different. Skill sets and. Different strengths the allow us to work together and sort of. US each of other's strengths are for things that we might found more tricky. Their first port of call was to draft some freedom of information requests. They wanted to ask the police if and when they worked with immigration officials. So we sent off some a couple of freedom. Of Information Requests one to the the mats and one to greater. Manchester Police as two of the logic of police forces but these requests a tricky they take research to get them. Right. Yeah I a long and harrowing experience from information requests like light might based. Let's say you have to think through what the piece of information or document that your looking for is, and you have to define it as clearly a narrowly as you possibly can. Especially, if you ask you about something which the places holy that information might find embarrassing that will find any reason possible till you are to delay you or come back and say, Oh, can you can you defy refined your question more say we specifically asked about about policy What is your? What is your policy on this? And if possible, provide the documentation. They waited. And waited. And then the response came back urban but thinking, Gotcha now this is this is significant. The. Met Police had admitted through the response that they would pass on details of by victims and witnesses of a crime if there were concerns over their immigration status. Migrants support groups reacted with shock warning that people would be scared to report crimes. If they feared, they could be deported as a result. The pair of journalist published their story on Politics Kerr UK, and they kept going. Natalie. Heard about a troubling case where Brazilian woman who was working as a sex worker was robbed at knifepoint by five men. When she went to the police to report the crime she said, they focused more on trying to prosecute her for the sex work. and. When she returned to UK after a holiday abroad she was detained. She was then facing deportation after you sort of instead of being treated as a victim she that case was turned and she was then being treated as a an immigration offender

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