Five key figures on immigration detention centres in England & Wales from the Chief Inspector

Legal aid cuts, staff blunders and failing systems revealed in latest HMIP report


Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Immigration detention centres in England & Wales hold minors “in error”, imprison adults for unlimited periods and deny detainees access to legal services according to the latest HMIP annual report.

Here are the important numbers from the report.


Five key figures from the Chief Inspector’s report

62 days

The length of time for which a 16 year old minor was detained “in error”. A further 15 detainees across the three centres visited had claimed to be minors, but all of them were judged to be significantly over the age of 18 by an immigration officer. The report found that this was “inappropriate”, as the staff didn’t have the training to make these decisions and based them purely on physical appearance.

Last month an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that only one in every 10 Home Office asylum case workers had the requisite training to allow them to make decisions about children, although all immigration officers have the power to send people to adult detention centres if they choose to.

Children in adult detention since 2010 - Refugee Council

Children in adult detention since 2010. Source: Refugee Council


Three years and seven months 

The length of time for which an Iranian man was held in a removal centre from July 2010 until he was eventually released into Home Office bail accommodation in February 2014. The report described this situation as “not in accordance with the law”. The UK is the only country in the EU to not have a statutory time limit for immigration detention.

In March BBC Scotland reported that dozens of people were being held in Dungavel detention centre for months, and some for years – a pattern which is replicated across the country. In the same month a cross-party panel of parliamentarians called for a detention time limit after conducting a detailed inquiry into the UK’s use of immigration detention.


53 per cent

The percentage of people who were removed from the UK on leaving a detention centre in 2014. It follows that almost half of those who left an Immigration Removal Centre in 2014 were not removed from the UK.

A 2014 report by a pan-European collective of migrant and refugee organisations, Point of No Return, used several case studies to demonstrate why migrants to the EU can not be deported back to their home country and end up being released back into their host country after a significant spell in detention.

These include their own country being too dangerous to be returned to, and their country’s government refusing to take them back or issue them with the necessary ID, even if the detainee is cooperating with the removal process.

Source: A Face to the Story Project

Source: A Face to the Story Project


28 per cent 

Almost one-third of those surveyed in the three centres visited by the Chief Inspector (Campsfield House, Haslar and Dover) in 2014-2015 who said they wanted a lawyer but didn’t have access to one. The Chief Inspector said that this was due to a combination of legal aid cuts, lack of staff knowledge about legal aid and breakdowns in legal access systems.


Two weeks 

The period of time in which one detainee was moved between four different detention centres. In one 16 hour period he was moved from Dungavel to Pennine House at 12.30am, arriving at 4.50am, and from Pennine House to Harmondsworth five hours later. The report noted a continuing trend of transporting “too many detainees late at night”, and of excessive moves of detainees around the detention estate.

Next week, we’ll be following up with more from the report, including details on which web services detainees are denied access to. Stay tuned.

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