Inspectors highlight inadequate child protection procedures at immigration centres

None of four short-term immigration holding facilities inspected earlier this year had adequate child protection policies in place, according to the chief inspector of prisons.
Anne Owers also said formal polices to deal with bullying and self-harm were lacking at the centres – at Birmingham International Airport, Eaton House in Middlesex, Festival Court, Glasgow, and Glasgow International Airport. The centres were all run by private company Global Solutions when they were inspected from February to April.

She reiterated comments made in previous inspections of the non-residential facilities that any centre holding children must have child protection procedures in place.

And she repeated her call for the centres to be independently monitored. In his response, immigration minister Tony McNulty said the government accepted this might need to be put in place.

In a second report, also published this week, Owers warned that concerns about safety at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre remain as the centre moves towards closure.

Ten of 12 of the main recommendations from a previous inspection in June last year had not been implemented, she said.

The recommendations in question mostly relate to the use of the centre’s detainee detention unit and the treatment of detained children. However, Oakington has not housed families with children since last month.

McNulty said he would respond in detail to the report once he had considered it in full. Oakington is scheduled to close next year.

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