Harmondsworth Immigration Centre Conditions ‘Desolate’

Conditions at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre were “desolate”, with bare rooms, broken equipment, bed bugs and cockroaches, the report by Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said.

Some detainees were held for over a year, with one man held for five years.

The privately run centre said staff had been working to improve services.

The detention facility in West Drayton holds up to 661 men, including adult male asylum seekers, foreign offenders awaiting deportation and men who are in the UK illegally.

The inspector said “the direction of travel is now positive” for the centre but added: “It is unacceptable that conditions were allowed to decline so much.”

The centre is run by private contractor MITIE Care and Custody on behalf of the Home Office, whose rules state detention in immigration centres should be used sparingly and for the shortest period necessary.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We take the welfare of our detainees extremely seriously and this report raises a number of important issues, which we are currently addressing.”

‘Substantial concerns’

The report found some men were held at Harmondsworth for an “unreasonably long” time, including 18 men who had been detained for more than a year and one man who had been held on separate occasions for a total of five years.

By BBC News
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