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Operation Nexus


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The Met Police website tells us that:

Operation Nexus, designed and delivered by the MPS and UKBA, aims to maximise intelligence, information and world wide links to improve how we deal with and respond to foreign nationals breaking the law.

AC Rowley, in charge of Specialist Crime and Operations at the Met also states that:

Nexus is dealing with those people who we catch offending, but also takes a long term preventative approach by stopping people from returning or being able to arrive in the first place.

Last week Friday, Operation Nexus featured on the front page of The Times newspaper (for those with the subscription) as the focus of the Operation seemed to be gathering momentum in assisting with the deportation of not only those who have committed crimes but also worryingly, those who may only have been suspected of having done so.  This follows in particular the case of Mr Farquharson, who was apparently deported last month.  Readers of the blog may recall that his case was recently the subject of a reported determination from the Upper Tribunal: Farquharson (removal – proof of conduct) Jamaica [2013] UKUT 146 (IAC).

The issues considered by Mr Justice Blake and Sir Jeffrey James were that the appellant,  Mr Farquharson, had been disadvantaged at the FTT hearing, being a litigant in person and having been served with a lot of police material by the Home Office Presenting Officer on the day of the hearing without being given sufficient opportunity to address this in response.  Furthermore, the Upper Tribunal considered the issue of conduct and when and how this can be established in the context of a deportation appeal.

When considering the various factors under Para 395C of the Immigration Rules in relation to the appellant’s case, the Upper Tribunal stated on Mr Farquharson’s ‘Personal history, including character, conduct and employment record’:

We have extensively reviewed his personal conduct above. We are satisfied to the appropriate civil balance that he has used violence and inflicted injury on women when his wishes are frustrated. We are further satisfied that he is forceful in making his sexual demands and his conduct leaves many partners very frightened and anxious to get away from him. We note the persistence of his conduct despite a number of arrests, charges and criminal trials. We note the opinions expressed by his neighbours in the 2011 incident. This occurred at a time when his application for discretionary leave was outstanding. Taken together, we are entirely satisfied that his past treatment of women  strongly supports an assessment that he presents a real risk of future harm to women, in particular women are who are vulnerable  by reason of addiction, mental capacity or  personal circumstances.

The matter was then listed for a ‘re-hearing’ and presumably, Mr Farquharson’s appeal was dismissed resulting in his deportation.

Renaissance Chambers is proud to see that Colin Yeo was called upon by The Times’ Crime Editor, Sean O’Neill, and quoted in Friday’s article drawing the readers’ attention to Operation Nexus’ practice, in the context of those merely suspected of committing a crime.  Colin stated as follows:

There is a lower standard of proof in the immigration tribunal and it is easier for the authorities to dispose of a person via that system than using the criminal justice system.  The concern is that this offloads the problem to another country.  There is also a worry that the immigration tribunal does not provide the same safeguards for a defendant that are built into the criminal justice system.  People can be deported on quite limited evidence.

The Times article highlights that Mr Farquharson was tried for one incident in February 2007 but the jury failed to reach a verdict.  In May 2007, he was tried for another alleged rape but again the jury could not reach a verdict and a re-trial in October of the same year resulted in another hung jury.  This is in contrast with the findings set out above by the Upper Tribunal, which of course would have been on the lower civil standard of proof.

In addition, the social and cultural ramifications of these practices are incredibly worrying and are highlighted by Rita Chadha, Chief Executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London, cited in the Guardian article on Operation Nexus published on 6 June 2013:

When Nexus first began we were reassured it was only about people who had criminal convictions in this country or in their home countries and who were very high risk.

What we are seeing now is that they are targeting all crimes and low level criminality. This is going to stop victims coming forward in the black and ethnic minority communities because they fear they will be targeted by Nexus. If you have a woman suffering domestic violence in a household of overstayers she is not going to come forward.

This is totally going to mess up local policing and any trust communities have in the police.

For further background information and analysis on Operation Nexus, see here and here.

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Sarah Pinder

Sarah is a specialist immigration barrister at Goldsmith Chambers in London. She also practices in family law and has a particular interest in cross-over issues within the two areas of law. Prior to joining the Bar, Sarah worked for 6 years in the not-for-profit sector as a specialist immigration caseworker.