Crawley Borough Council says it has successfully prosecuted G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd for breaching anti-smoking legislation inside an immigration centre it runs.
The statement from the council says that the company, which runs Brook House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick Airport, pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on March 6 to four counts of failing to stop a person smoking between 27 June and 1 July 2018.
Magistrates fined the company £1,666 for each count, ordered the company to pay the council’s costs of £5,809.50 and a victim surcharge of £170.
The total to pay was £12,646.50.
The court said that it felt the appropriate fine was the maximum available but with a reduction to take into account the company’s early guilty plea.
The prosecution was brought after the council received complaints that detainees were smoking in areas that must remain smoke-free by law and that staff and detainees were being exposed to second-hand smoke and the health issues it causes.
An Environmental Health Officer visited the premises on a couple of occasions in 2018 and his investigations included obtaining CCTV of the areas relating to the complaints.
In the four days relating to the charges, 37 separate incidents of smoking were observed.
The statement adds that the company’s staff intervened on only two of those occasions and only once did this stop the person smoking.
Councillor Geraint Thomas, Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, said: “This is a highly unusual prosecution because there have been very few, if any, similar cases.
“The smoking ban was brought in to protect people from breathing in second-hand smoke. The strong message from the magistrates is that this won’t be tolerated.
“This is a great result for the council as well as detainees and staff at Brook House. I’d like to thank the sterling work of our Environmental Health and Legal teams in bringing forward this prosecution.”