Immigration authorities should examine the manner in which people
are detained and removed from the UK, the prisons and probation
ombudsman has recommended, writes Amy
Stephen Shaw made the call for a race relations audit of the
immigration removal estate in a report into allegations of abuse at
Oakington Immigration Reception Centre. The report was carried out
following the BBC’s Detention Undercover: the Real Story
programme in March on staff’s treatment of detainees.
Shaw said the documentary had shown a “sub-culture” of violence and
racism among a small number of Oakington and escort staff.
The report says this could “happen anywhere” if it took place at
Oakington, widely regarded as the most benign of all the
immigration detention centres.
The report highlights “serious weaknesses” in management at the
centre and recommends it should be strengthened to combat racism.
It also looks at the escort of detainees and describes the holding
room used by the immigration service at Heathrow as “foul” and
proposes that its use and conditions should be urgently reviewed.
Shaw called for the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to give
“urgent consideration” to monitoring care in holding rooms.
Currently, monitoring focuses only on service delivery and
His report also details evidence from immigration staff claiming
that conditions at centres in Dover and Coquelles, which is under
UK control on the French side of the Channel Tunnel, are even worse
than Heathrow. One immigration manager claims in the report that
detainees at Coquelles are housed in “converted dog kennels”.
Home Office minister Tony McNulty said the inquiry raised “many
important issues” and that the government would respond to Shaw’s
recommendations once it had fully studied the report.
- Inquiry into Allegations of Racism and Mistreatment of
Detainees at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre and While Under
Escort from: www.homeoffice.gov.uk