Detention Centres

Home Office written question – answered on 9th March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what qualifications and quality standards are required of contractors' staff in contact with detainees at Yarl's Wood and other detention centres.

Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

People undertaking custodial functions in immigration removal centres must be certified by the Secretary of State as Detainee Custody Officers (DCO) or, in the case of prison officers undertaking such duties, have the functions of DCOs conferred on them by the Secretary of State.

Under section 154 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 the Secretary of State may not issue a certificate of authorisation to perform the functions of a DCO unless she is satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to perform those functions and has received training to such standard as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for the performance of those functions.

Detention Service Order 10/2014 sets out the requirements for DCO certification which contains requirements including: nationality and employment requirements, prohibitions on membership or affiliation with particular organisations, satisfactory completion of an initial training course and training on the work of immigration enforcement.

DCOs will not be issued with a certificate to work unless they have also passed all preliminary security checks, have no convictions and completed all declarations, including the Official Secrets Act.

For prison officers working at The Verne, Dover, Haslar and Morton Hall the National Offender Management Service is responsible for ensuring that all prison officer grades are appropriately cleared, trained and authorised to carry out their functions.

Evidence of the qualifications and quality standards to be met must be provided to the Home Office (Immigration Enforcement Certification Team).

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