How to Spot an Immigration Raid

March 11, 2014



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How Do They Arrive?

Vans marked IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT or unmarked white/blue/black vans. Sometimes accompanied by police car.

What Do They Look Like?

Should be wearing UKBA insignia/numbers on shoulders. They often hide them.

Where Do They Go?

Streets, Train & Tube stations. Buses. Workplaces: shops, restaurants, markets. Homes.

How Do They Act?

Arrive in groups, sometimes with plain clothes officers. Often block entrances and exits.


If you see someone being stopped by UKBA officers or police on immigration grounds, and your immigration status does not put you at risk, we recommended you:

  • Immediately make the person aware they do not have to answer questions & they can leave
  • Remind the officers of the law
  • Film the incident, where possible asking the person stopped if that’s ok, or just film the officers involved. This may be useful in making a claim in the event of an unlawful stop or arrest.
  • Record lapel numbers of officers involved
  • Make other members of the public aware of what’s happening
  • Get witnesses’ contact details if the stop leads to an arrest or the person wants to pursue it afterwards.
  • Attempt to pass on a phone number to the individual if you think the stop will lead to arrest
  • Do not get aggressive or physically obstruct officers if you want to avoid arrest for obstruction.
  • If you want to refer to their guidance when speaking to Immigration Officers, everything can be found in Chapter 31 UKBA Operational Enforcement Manual:

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