Refugee Council expresses dismay at Home Office plans to open detention centre

The Refugee Council has expressed dismay at the Home Office’s plans to open another detention centre to house asylum seekers.

The Home Office announced today that a former RAF base at Coltishall near Norwich is being transferred to the Home Office in a bid to expand detention capacity.

Director general of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Lin Homer said increasing detention space was an important step in delivering home secretary John Reid’s commitments to enforcing immigration laws more robustly.

However, acting chief executive of the Refugee Council Anna Reisenberger said: “We are dismayed that the Home Office is looking to open another detention centre to house asylum seekers.

“At a time when extra space is desperately needed to hold people who have committed crimes, it seems very strange that priority should be given to locking up people who’ve committed no crime and are no danger to the public.”

Detention is expensive and unnecessary, she said, adding that evidence shows very few asylum seekers abscond  – even those facing removal.

“Far from opening detention centres, the government should be closing down those that exist,” she concluded.

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