Shadow minister Rosena Allin-Khan accused police of "racial profiling" after pictures emerged of officers carrying out immigration checks on delivery cyclists in London. The shadow minister for mental health said the checks could amount to "indirect discrimination" due to the disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups.
Dr Allin-Khan Spoke out about the checks which saw officials targeting cyclists in Tooting, stopping 48 bikes and seizing two. At this stage it is not yet clear how many of the 48 were cyclists and how many were moped or motorcycle drivers, however the Independent reports that three were reported for criminal offences and two arrested for immigration offences.
The MP tweeted: "This looks like racial profiling and I am concerned that under the Equalities Act 2010, this may amount to indirect discrimination due to its disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups. If it's not unlawful, then it's definitely immoral and I cannot defend it.
"I've requested a meeting with the police to explain their actions and would encourage them to focus their time on fighting crime - not targeting people at work."
Despite the photo appearing to show a cycle courier being stopped, a spokesperson for the MET claimed its checks were being carried out due to reports of dangerous driving from moped riders. It was also claimed the immigration enforcement was a separate operation.
The Met spokesperson said: “Following community concerns about dangerous and anti-social driving of mopeds, officers carried out a road safety policing operation in Tooting on Tuesday, 18 May.
“This was not a Covid compliance operation but one of engagement and high visibility.
“Officers from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command stopped a number of motorcycles to check driving licences, insurance documents and to ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicles.
“Where appropriate, advice regarding road safety was given.
“The objective of the operation was in response to community concerns about the dangerous and anti-social driving of mopeds.
“Immigration enforcement officers were also at the location carrying out their own intelligence lead operation, separate from the focus of RTPC officers.”