Immigration holding centres slammed by Owers

Suicide and self-harm procedures and training are lacking at
three out of four holding facilities for asylum seekers covered in
a report from the chief inspector of prisons out today,
writes Amy Taylor.

Anne Owers also says that although the facilities are sometimes
used to hold asylum seekers overnight, they are not suitable for
this purpose.

The four holding centres, which are located at Gatwick Airport,
North and South terminals, London City Airport and Dover Asylum
Screening Centre, are used for holding men, women and children.

Both Gatwick facilities were found not to have a self-harm and
suicide policies and that although custody officers at Dover had
been trained in self-harm and suicide prevention there was no
refresher course available.

The report states that detainees were sleeping in inadequate
conditions without enough bedding or heating at the facilities.

Owers also found there were inadequate child protection
procedures at all the centres and that many of the staff working
with children had not had enhanced Criminal Record Bureau

She went on to highlight that at present detainees’
welfare in the facilities are not independently monitored and she
called for this to be changed.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said that the government took
the welfare of detainees extremely seriously and that he would
respond to Owers’ recommendations in more detail when he had
studied the report in full.

Report on the unannounced inspections of four short-term
non-residential holding facilities from:


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