DAVID Cameron has given his backing to the minister responsible for a controversial immigration crackdown despite a backlash against the tactics used.
The government has insisted that spot checks carried out at London Underground stations to question individuals suspected of being in the country illegally were “intelligence-led” and did not target racial groups.
The operation formed part of a series of high-profile initiatives targeting illegal immigrants, including nationwide raids, which were given a running commentary on the Home Office’s Twitter feed, and a van patrolling a number of London boroughs carrying a billboard encouraging those in the country without permission to “go home” or face arrest.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched an investigation into the immigration spot checks for possible discrimination, and is also probing the van campaign, which was part of a pilot scheme.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman defended the spot checks, claiming there had been hundreds of similar operations before, and said Mr Cameron supported immigration minister Mark Harper.
“This was an operational issue and it was signed off by the immigration minister Mark Harper,” he said.
“This is something that happens on a reasonably regular basis. The figure from the Home Office was that there had been 228 street operations since 2008 across the UK.”