Migrant police officer says Roma gypsy community fear deportation after Brexit
A Roma gypsy police officer living in Peterborough says fellow migrants fear being deported after Britain voted to leave the EU.
Petr Torak (35) who came to the UK 17 years ago to escape violence in the Czech Republic, said his community is considering setting up a helpline for people with mental health issues due to Brexit.
Mr Torak said he had not experienced racism directly, but that he had a perception that UK citizens no longer wanted him in the country.
He said: “Just before Brexit there were people worried by what would happen, but I was still convinced we would remain.
“Once we found out that it was not the case we were all very shocked. People were panicking.
“Since Friday I’ve received a large number of phone calls and text messages either asking ‘what happens now’? or ‘do we get deported’? Or people are asking ‘I’m going on holiday for a week or two, will I be allowed to come back’?”
Mr Torak has family living in and around Peterborough after they fled their home country. He said: “For us, we mainly came here as asylum seekers. The main problem was to have a safe place.
“It’s very difficult for gypsy people. I was beaten up. We were second class citizens. We could not go into restaurants as we were being harassed.
“I love it here. From day one we have experienced completely different approaches.”
Although there have been no calls nationally for anyone to be deported, Mr Torak said he would now be applying for British citizenship.
He added: “We are thinking about a helpline to help people with mental health issues because of Brexit. It’s a lot of stress.”