Surprise inspection at immigration centre

Fracking protest at Balcombe Sunday, August 18 ENGSUS00120130820075034
Fracking protest at Balcombe Sunday, August 18 ENGSUS00120130820075034

Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre, close to Gatwick, was given a good rating after a surprise inspection.

The centre, which hold people who are either waiting to be deported or claiming asylum, got a very positive rating in a report from 2012.

The latest report, published last week, said those standards had mostly been maintained, though ‘there were now areas that needed attention’.

Inspectors noted that the centre was a respectful and calm establishment, which provided a safe environment for children and families.

Matters for improvement included journeys to and from the centre, which it said were often long and badly planned; the ‘bleak’ and ‘unsatisfactory’ care and separation unit, which had once been used to isolate an inmate with tuberculosis; and the ‘very poor’ ventilation on the site.

“The relationships between staff and detainees we observed throughout the inspection were good overall and we saw many examples of kind and helpful interactions,” it said.

“However, we also observed a minority of staff who were less respectful or distant and this was reflected in some of what the detainees told us.

“In our survey, 81 per cent of detainees told us that staff treated them with respect, compared with the very high 95 per cent at the previous inspection, and the figure was now similar to comparable establishments.”

Jerry Petherick, director of custodial and detention services for G4S, which runs Tinsley House, said: “The days before deportation can be a distressing time for detainees and I am pleased that this report recognises the calm, patient and diligent work of our staff at Tinsley House to support the people we look after at the centre.

“I am encouraged that inspectors have again found Tinsley House to be a safe and decent environment for detainees and this is the product of hard work by our staff and partners, including the Red Cross, Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group and Migrant Help to provide high levels of care. We are committed to continuing to improve performance and will work with the Home Office and our other partner agencies to play our part in meeting the inspector’s recommendations.”

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