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Remember those heart-breaking pictures of Romanian “orphans” arrested by police in Slough last week. We were told they had been trafficked from Eastern Europe and that latter day Fagins were holding them in Dickensian conditions. Not so, reports Barbara Panvel.

On Friday 25th January, the papers reported that 'trafficked children' were taken into care after police raids on 'Fagin gangs'.

At dawn, having arranged for cameras to be present, helmeted police staged raids on seventeen houses in Slough.

The residents were held for six hours unable even to offer the children food. It was alleged that these children had been imported to commit crimes and were to be treated as "vulnerable victims" and, if possible, reunited with their families in Romania.

A very different account emerged yesterday. On the Today programme, John Humphrys reported that all but one of those children have already been returned to their families, who lived in those houses in Slough - not Romania after all.

All were in good health. He asked Commander Steve Allen why the police had gone in ‘mob handed’.

Commander Allen replied was that this had been done to ‘disrupt and deter people who bring children illegally into this country’.

Some who are worried about immigration might not be too concerned about this incident.

They should remember that this is not an isolated incident but a pattern of behaviour. Usually due to mistaken identity or getting the wrong address, the doors of many people who have never been under suspicion have been battered down & their houses entered by armed police – usually well after midnight.

In one episode forced entry was made into a house where an elderly widow lived alone.

This practice should be strictly questioned and more care taken to check identities and ascertain addresses and locations. Camera usage should be limited to the search for evidence not used for Rambo-style publicity. Repairs should be organised and paid for and, in cases where no criminal charges follow, generous compensation should follow a profound, well-publicised apology for causing fear and stress.

Take this seriously and protest; with the proliferation of security details going astray, yours could be the next house to be entered.

Has this story undermined your trust in the media?

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