A COMPANY housing asylum seekers in Glasgow have been asked whether they plan to "drag people from their homes" after Police Scotland confirmed they would not assist with evictions.

Home Office contractor Serco announced plans to restart lock-changes on properties in Glasgow housing asylum seekers in July.

The process would involve asking people to leave their homes who have exhausted all rights to appeal to remain in the UK.

However, questions have been asked about the methods Serco will use to remove people from properties, as third sector groups continue to advise asylum seekers to refuse to leave.

Police have confirmed they will not be assisting with the removals, meaning Serco have no means by which to physically force people from their homes.

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Asylum seeker lock change evictions plan by Serco sparks anger in Glasgow

Chief Inspector Michael Duddy said: “Issues arising from the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 are a civil matter and as such the police has no role in a 'lock-changing' process.

"However, Police Scotland officers can be requested by partner agencies or members of the community to deal with issues related to crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour.

"Consideration would be taken of any cultural issues to ensure our approach is appropriate, proportionate and sensitive."

Evening Times:

The move has been welcomed by groups working with vulnerable asylum seekers who would otherwise be left destitute if the evictions went ahead.

A spokesman for the ASH Project said: "This is excellent news. It is now physically impossible for Serco to remove people as a private company.

"We welcome Police Scotland's confirmation they will not assist Serco to forcibly evict people from properties.

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"We are aware of Serco's previous track record of a heavy handed approach and we hope that staff will be advised strongly that under no circumstances to forcibly remove anyone from their properties.

"We will be advising service users to stay in their homes and, should Serco come, to call the police so they are not intimidated, harassed or forcibly removed from a property."

Other groups across Glasgow have echoed these fears, and have suggested asylum seekers could be physically removed and left on the street alongside their belongings if Serco are allowed to proceed.

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, said: "We expect that they will change locks when people are out, wait until people have to report to the Home Office. They will change locks and dump their belongings on the street.

Evening Times:

"If the police are not going to be assisting with evictions, how exactly are people going to be forced out?

"How will it be done? Will they be dragging people out of their homes? It is the most inhumane thing you can do to people who have nothing.

"Are we expected to stand by and see people dragged out of their homes? The intention is to empty flats, creating a human tragedy on our doorstep."

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Jenni Halliday, Serco’s COMPASS contract director, said: “We will not use force with the former asylum seekers who are still occupying our properties and living free at our expense, as some people have suggested.

"We will seek to persuade them to peaceably leave and pointing them to the various organisations who are able to help them.”