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Exploring the Decision Making of Immigration Officers: A Research Study Examining Non-EEA Passenger Stops and Refusals at UK Ports

NCJ Number
Kandy Woodfield; Liz Spencer; Susan Purdon; Joanne Pascale; Robin Legard; Allen Anie; Carolyne Ndofor-Tah; Jamila Mouden; Fernne Brennan
Date Published
53 pages
Findings are presented from research into the decisionmaking of Immigration Officers (IOs) with non-EEAs (nationalities other than Swiss) passengers arriving at United Kingdom ports.
The findings of the quantitative study showed a higher stopping rate for some non-White ethnic groups. The study demonstrates that it is feasible to monitor stop rates by ethnicity, although the process needs to be improved. However, it is not feasible from the data available to determine whether there is an ethnic bias in decisions to hold passengers for further questioning. Upon arrival at United Kingdom ports, all non-EEA passengers are subject to examination by an IO, to ensure that they comply with immigration rules and procedures. The control of United Kingdom borders is a joint operation involving the work of several government agencies that work together and share intelligence to target arriving passengers who may pose a security, immigration, or criminal risk and to monitor the import and export of goods and other freight through the country’s borders. Commissioned by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the Home Office and research conducted with the cooperation of Border Control, part of IND, this study explored in-depth the process by which IOs decide whether or not to hold passengers with non-EEA passports for further questioning and to establish if there is evidence of disproportional stopping rates for passengers of any ethnic group. It also provides some evidence on decisions about whether to grant entry. It explored the potential for monitoring the ethnicity of arriving passengers and understanding the reasons for any variations in stopping rates for passengers from different ethnic groups. Tables, glossary, appendix and references