Holding facilities for asylum seekers at four ports of entry into
the UK have inadequate child protection procedures, the chief
inspector of prisons warns this week.
Anne Owers’ report says the facilities could be used to hold
adults and children detained for periods including overnight stays,
but that they lack any means to properly separate these
Staff coming into contact with children at the centres – at
Gatwick Airport’s north and south terminals, London City
Airport and Dover Asylum Screening Centre – also had not been
subjected to enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks.
Lisa Nandy, policy adviser at the Children’s Society, said
the lack of child protection arrangements meant children were being
put at risk of significant harm.
The holding facility at London City Airport is criticised most by
Owers. Procedures and training to tackle suicide and self-harm were
also found to be lacking in three of the centres.
Owers recommends that all holding facilities have a comprehensive
child protection policy agreed with the local child protection
Home Office minister Tony McNulty said there was ongoing work
putting in place formal child protection policies at the
The inspections took place from November 2004 to January
- Report from www.homeoffice.gov.uk