Over the past few days there has been a major uproar brewing over the immigration checks that the Police have carried out at various tube stations. The general thrust of these is that these checks have been intimidatory, inflammatory and downright racist. They point to the UK descending into a police state as an increasingly right wing Conservative Party struggles to counter the growth of UKIP, the EDL and even the BNP.
These checks have been going on for years. They do not normally take place inside the stations, but rather outside. They are not usually led by police officers, but by members of the now defunct UK Border Agency or local council officers with police in support. They were usually much lower key and less confrontational, conducted as they were by people who were official but did not carry the weight of authority of a police officer.
Those who have rallied against these latest checks have omitted to mention they were designed to detect a crime. Frequent reference to the stab vests the police officers wore only points to their uniform. Suggestions that they were only targeting non-whites ignores the Ukrainean who was detained.
And yet these arguments are nothing compared to the damage done to public trust. Yet again the police are cast as the villains in a stage play managed from the glass towers of a government increasingly out of touch. Theresa May could well have wanted to send a message by making the checks so high profile, only what has been received is something that feeds into the growing discontent with the way this country is being run.
I welcome a crack down on illegal immigrants – and those who bring them here and shelter and employ them. It just needs to be done with more care and sensitivity towards the vast majority of law abiding citizens of all nations and ethnicities.