The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre (IRC) for around 80 women by the autumn. Initial discussions with the planning authority at Durham Country Council have taken place and given the site’s previous history as a custody facility, planning designation for the site does not need to change in order to operate as an IRC.
People who are detained must be advised of their right to legal representation and of how they can obtain such representation, within 24 hours of their arrival at an IRC. The Home Office recognise the importance of ensuring that such legal advice can be easily obtained by those in detention and we will be working closely with the Legal Aid Agency to ensure appropriate legal provision at the site.
The rights of all detained individuals, including women, are safeguarded by the Detention Centre Rules, published Operating Standards for IRCs and individuals under escort and Detention Services Orders (DSO).
The training requirements for Home Office, custodial service provider and healthcare staff at Hassockfield IRC will be equivalent to those for Yarl’s Wood IRC. As set out in published DSO 06/2016 ‘women in the detention estate’, all staff working with women must receive appropriate gender specific training (such as the protocol for entry to bedrooms), in addition to any generic training they receive when they undergo initial training. Appropriate refresher training should be undertaken, to include equality and diversity, human trafficking and modern slavery.