Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:31 pm on 14th February 2019.

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Hilary Brown:

There are high numbers of people who are quickly detained when they are initially detected by various means—people who have trafficking offences and who have been randomly stopped by police and immigration authorities. In the first instance, they are taken to police stations and not given access to appropriately qualified immigration advisers. They are denied access to any type of legal advice in a police station. Often, and unnecessarily, that sees individuals referred on to immigration removal centres, which clogs up immigration removal centres unnecessarily. They then have to make bail applications to the various immigration tribunals. Often people are then released on bail, only having identified for the first time that they have some kind of irregular immigration status.

Detention is used far too often—and for over extended periods of time— unnecessarily. If a similar type of system was offered to immigration detainees as to people who face criminal offences in police stations, such as a duty solicitor scheme or a duty representative scheme for immigration issues, I certainly think there would be far fewer immigration detentions.