Author: Mike McCarthy, news reporter
The Home Office has refused to comment on the case of a father who was pinned to the ground naked by immigration officers following a false tip-off.
Tapiwa Matukutire says that six enforcement officers barged into his house as he answered the door.
He says he managed to set his mobile phone to record just before he was forced to the ground and handcuffed as he pleaded his innocence and begged the enforcement agents not to take him away. His 18-month-old son was able to hear the incident from a nearby room where he was strapped into a high chair.
The distressed father can be clearly heard saying “I came under European law, right?” He repeatedly complains that he is “being treated like an animal” and has not done anything wrong.
Mr Matukutire holds a Zimbabwean passport but lives with his British wife and son in Bolton. He was in the UK legally.
He has since discovered that the Home Office was acting on an inaccurate tip-off from the DVLA which had misunderstood his application for a British driving license. The DVLA has apologised and paid compensation.
He told Sky News: “The raid was truly shocking. I had just been in the shower and was expecting delivery of some new baby clothes. When I opened the door wrapped only in a towel, Immigration just explodes into our house… they’re screaming: ‘It’s Immigration! It’s Immigration.’
“They weren’t interested in my attempt to prove that I was not illegal… I panicked and ran up the stairs. I’ve then got into a bedroom and they cornered me.
“I tried to reason with them that I’m here under EU regulations. The way they did it was they all grabbed me and threw me on the floor. I’ve got one bloke with his knee on my back and the other five pressing down on my back. They were talking about putting my son in child services.”
Mr Matukutire’s lawyer David Jones said: “It is a regrettable example of the Home Office not performing checks appropriately and these are not complex checks that they had to undertake.
“They had to open a passport, they had to look at their own computer records. These are things that took a moment to do during the enforcement visit and which led to recognition that actually they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. There were things that should have been done many weeks before the enforcement visit was pursued. There were substantial failings.”
The Immigration Act 2014 provides for information sharing described by critics as “snitching” by bodies such as banks and the DVLA.
But Mr Jones said: “The Home Office treated the report from DVLA as a reliable assessment of Tapiwa’s status, rather than performing its own due diligence in order to ensure that the DVLA got it right.