Owers criticises holding centres

Immigration holding centres at Heathrow Airport and Calais cannot accommodate men, women and children separately and do not have suitable child protection arrangements, inspectors have found.

Although the attitude of staff at the centres, which are run by Group 4 Securicor, was praised by  chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers, the five Heathrow facilities were unfit to hold children, she said.

Staff lacked child protection training and had not undergone adequate criminal records checks.

Although detainees were held for up to 36 hours, blankets, toiletries and places to stretch were not available at Heathrow, the report said.

Accommodation at the three Calais centres was found to be “disrespectful and wholly inadequate”.

But Owers reserved her strongest criticism for the immigration removal process itself, saying it treated people “as though they were parcels, not people”.


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