Detention Centres: Staff

Home Office written question – answered on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average ratio is of detainees to detention officers at (a) Colnbrook and (b) Harmondsworth immigration removal centres in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the ratio of detainees to detention officers in immigration removal centres that is considered to be safe.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many hours per day are detainees in (a) Harmondsworth and (b) Colnbrook immigration removal centres routinely locked in their rooms.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the highest number of detainees was in (a) Harmondsworth and (c) Colnbrook immigration removal centres in the last 12 months.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The Home Office does not specify a ratio of detainee to detainee custody

officer (DCOs) within immigration removal centres (IRCs) and this information is therefore not recorded. Instead, IRC suppliers are required to provide a safe and secure environment for detainees in their care and all IRC contracts require a minimum staffing level based on the size and layout of each individual centre. The Home Office and its suppliers do not release information on staff deployment as doing so could compromise security of the removal estate.

In the period ahead, new contracts will set high expectations for the quality of the management and staffing in IRCs. The current re-procurement of the contract for the Gatwick IRCs includes provision for increased staffing in key areas, including residential units, to improve welfare and safety.

The dignity and welfare of detainees across the entire detention estate is of the utmost importance and the use of periods of time where detainees’ freedom of movement is restricted contributes to the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in our centres.

Detainees at both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration removal centres (IRC) have a rest period following lunch and curfew period at night, where the total hours of confinement cannot exceed 12 hours a day during the week and 12.5 hours a day at weekends and on bank holidays.

Information on the number of people detained in Harmondsworth and Colnbrook IRCs on the last day of each quarter is available in table dt_12_q of the detention tables in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending March 2019’.

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