Since 2020 the Home Office has been expanding the use of invasive surveillance technology in the immigration system.

Here are just five of many compelling reasons why the next Government must put an end to this inhumane policy, described as ‘psychological torture’ by those forced to endure it.

Serco PLC is outsourced to deliver the policy and earns millions in profit from suffering.

We want Serco’s shareholders to show up and oppose harmful contracts and for the next government to align itself with justice by ending the tracking scheme entirely.

1. It is inhumane

People being 24/7 location monitored by the Home Office have described it as ‘psychological torture’. It is an oppressive, constant reminder that the Home Office know where you are and can rip you away from your home, loved ones and community to detain you at any time. Wearing these devices increases stigmatisation and impacts almost every aspect of daily life including sleeping, parenting, exercise and praying. People are forced to plan their lives around onerous charging requirements - in fear that a technical glitch or a battery dying could be used as evidence of ‘non-compliance’ to detain or deport them. 

2. It is unlawful

This year alone there have been three rulings finding widespread unlawfulness in the Home Office’s electronic monitoring regime. In February the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found the experimentation of GPS tagging asylum seekers unlawful and issued a warning about the compliance of the whole scheme. In March, in the case of Mark Nelson, a car mechanic and father of five, the court found his GPS tagging had been unlawful for over a year. And, in May the High Court found the Home Office had breached the human rights of four individuals in a number of ways.

3. It Is widely condemned

Numerous public bodies have expressed concerns with the Home Office’s GPS Monitoring scheme. This has included the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee, the Independent Chief Inspector of Immigration & Borders & the Council of Europe. The UN called out the UK for electronic monitoring of migrants in March. To comply with recommendations from these important bodies & international law obligations, the next Government must stop GPS monitoring migrants.

4. It is based on fiction

Monitoring the location of migrants doesn’t keep anyone safe — it’s harmful to health and dangerous for all our rights. It takes public money away from schools and hospitals in the name of preventing people from ‘absconding.’

But absconding rates are low, at 1% in 2020 and oscillating from year on year between 1 and 3%. This shows a seismic disconnect between rhetoric and reality. The Home Office should focus on real problems such as their dismal record of bureaucratic mismanagement and systemic racism and hostility.

5. It is just plain wrong

Carving out groups of people as less deserving of rights and subjecting them to physical and mental abuse that you would never tolerate for yourself or your loved ones is fundamentally wrong.

Even if it were lawful or ‘functional’, the 24/7 location monitoring ‘migrants’, including many born or raised in the UK, would be unjustifiable.

Private companies like Serco and their shareholders must end their complicity in GPS tracking immediately and the next government must align itself with justice by ending the scheme entirely.

More about #ShareholdersShowUp

We are a coalition of campaigners, advocates and lawyers working to raise awareness and drive action to end GPS tracking and Serco’s role in it. You can find out more here.

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is a registered Charity No. 1077187. Registered in England as a Limited Company No. 03803669. Accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Ref. No. N200100147. We are a member of the Fundraising Regulator, committed to best practice in fundraising and follow the standards for fundraising as set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice.
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