UK immigration detention centres mapped

Where are they, how big are they and who runs them?

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Some of the many refugees seeking safety in Europe may one day find themselves unfortunate enough to be locked in a UK immigration detention centre. But where are these centres and how many people do they hold?

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Mapping the centres

We asked the government the capacity of each detention centre as of late August 2015, and mapped the centres, to provide some clarity as to what’s going on in the UK detention estate.*

Most of the centres are in the southeast of England with those at Heathrow and Gatwick airports holding the most people. G4S, Mitie and Serco run the larger centres.

Have a look at our map to find out where each centre is, how many people it can hold and who runs it. Click here for the interactive version:

*As Colnbrook and Harmondsworth are both run by Mitie, and are in almost the exact same location by Heathrow Airport, we have mapped them on one bubble. We have done the same for Brook House and Tinsley House, which are run by G4S at Gatwick Airport.

We will periodically be updating the map to keep it as accurate as possible.

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Wikipedia inaccuracies

A warning: if you’re looking for accurate information on detention centres, don’t go to Wikipedia. The current wikipedia page on the issue is full of inaccuracies, which often go on to be repeated in other publications.

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Wikipedia's current information about UK detention centres on 2nd September 2015, much of which is out of date.

Wikipedia’s current information about UK detention centres as of 2nd September 2015, much of which is out of date.

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For example, Haslar is listed as an Immigration Removal Centre (or “IRC” – the government’s official name for detention centres), when in fact it closed in April 2015.

The Wikipedia page also misidentifies the current managers of Harmondsworth, Colnbrook, Dungavel, Larne House and Pennine House IRCs (the actual current managers are, respectively, Mitie, Mitie, GEO Group and Tascor, which changed its name from Reliance in 2012).

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Government confusion

The UK government and the companies running the centres are often publicity-shy and sometimes provide misleading information.

Haslar is still listed on the UK Justice Department website as an Immigration Removal Centre. The government’s website lists Pennine House and Larne House as IRCs despite emphatically stating elsewhere that “they are short term holding facilities and not IRCs”).

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Haslar is still listed on the Justice Department website as an IRC, though it was shut down in April 2015

Haslar is still listed on the Justice Department website as an IRC, though it was shut down in April 2015

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On top of this, the capacity of the centres changes month on month as buildings are expanded, new centres opened and old ones shut down, making the numbers hard to keep track of.

Please let us know if you have anything to add.

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